There have been videos floating around the internet showing a massive parking lot full of 2017 Ford F150 Raptors, which has left people wondering why these trucks are not being shipped to dealerships around the country. According to a “top executive” from Ford Motor Company who spoke with Reuters, many of the 2017 F150 pickups with the new 10-speed automatic transmission are being held back from dealerships as engineers work to finalize the testing procedures.
In other words, these trucks have been built and they are ready to ship, but since the engineering team has finished their final tests on the new 10-speed transmission, these trucks are being held at the various storage facilities. Once the final phases of testing have been completed, these trucks will all be shipped, if no issues are found during the final tests – but what happens if the engineers do find a problem?
This is the question from many online who don’t understand why Ford would built scores of new F150s with a transmission which has not been fully tested. Unfortunately, many reports of this delay don’t explain exactly what goes on during the final phases of the testing process, so while Ford hasn’t specified exactly what they are finalizing – we can make some guesses based on the normal course of events leading up to a new component launch.
Final F150 10-Speed Testing
I believe that these final testing procedures don’t relate so much to the nuts and bolts of the new 10-speed automatic transmission in the 2017 Ford F150 Raptor (or other 2017 F150 pickups with the 3.5L EcoBoost V6). All of the actual structural and mechanical design of this transmission would have been completed long before the first truck rolled off of the assembly line with this new gearbox, but during the final phases of testing, the specific calibration of this transmission will be fine-tuned after extensive testing in every possible condition.
Like all modern automatic transmissions, the new 10-speed gearbox in the 2017 F150 (and the 2017 Camaro ZL1) is electronically controlled with an advanced computer system controlling every aspect of the action – from the speed of the shifts to the timing of the shifts to how the transmission acts in the different drive modes. During the final testing, the engineers will look to perfect the calibration of the transmission, so now that these trucks have been built, “fixing” a problem discovered during the late tests would likely be as simple as a re-tune of the transmission computer.
Ford Learns from Other’s Mistakes
While holding back such a highly sought after truck as the 2017 F150 Raptor seems crazy to some people, Ford’s move to wait until the final tests have been completed shows that they’ve taken notice of problems of other automakers. In the past few years, several automakers have offered up new transmissions which were later found to have small problems that needed to be programmed out via a transmission computer re-flash. This is a simple fix, but it is bothersome to the owners to have to make a trip to the dealership and in the long run, any recall serves as a black eye for an automaker.
Ford’s hope here is that they will have every aspect of the new 10-speed transmission perfect when these trucks are delivered – thus preventing a recall to re-tune the transmission control computer.
The simple act of holding these trucks back for a few weeks could save Ford Motor Company the cost and the headache of a transmission re-flash recall down the road – which could be important as the company rolls out the industry’s first consumer-grade 10-speed transmission.