Power analysis predicts 1200 lb-ft of torque in diesels

Torque of heavy duty pickups’ diesels more than doubled in past 20 years

Published: December 4, 2018, 4:30 PM
Updated: November 21, 2021, 2:57 PM

Ram 6.7-litre Cummins turbodiesel inline-6

A new graphic from Spork Marketing, for customizer Throttle Down Kustoms, suggests that diesel pickups may benefit from over 1200 lb-ft of torque before the next decade is done.

“With the advancement of turbodiesel technologies and electronic fuel management, I think we’ve only begun to see what these hardworking trucks will do,” says Jeremy Pulse, owner of Throttle Down Kustoms. “These truck makers keep improving their stock parts to produce more torque and horsepower. The growing output for these diesels is really impressive.”

The new creative charts the change in power outputs of heavy duty pickups’ diesel engines in the past couple decades to make the projection of where those outputs are heading over the next 10 years.

The team at Throttle Down Kustoms (TKD) used linear regression analysis on the engines from the Big 3 pickups (Chevrolet Silverado HD, Dodge/Ram HD and Ford F-Series Super Duty) back to 1998 (using the highest engine outputs for each pickup line), coming to the conclusion that the evolution of the engine will likely see horsepower top 600 and torque eclipse 1200 lb-ft by 2028, and that’s good news for owners who rely on their trucks for hauling and towing.

“The trucks of today will still be powerful and ready-for-work in 10 years,” said Pulse. “Even if the engines aren't as powerful, aftermarket manufacturers will always be there with performance upgrades.”

The company averaged out the power outputs of the three series of full-sized heavy-duty pickups, finding the biggest power jump occurred between 1998 and 2008, where horsepower rose 63% (from an average of 218 to 355) and torque gained 44% (from 443 to 640 lb-ft, on average). From 2008 to today, torque again rose 44% (640 lb-ft to an average of 922), even though horsepower gained just 19% (from 355 to 423, on average).

Individually, the Chevrolet HDs didn’t get a diesel engine until the 6.6-litre turbocharged Duramax V-8 of 2000, which generated 300 hp and 520 lb-ft of torque. The outputs grew through several improvements to 397 and 765, respectively, by the time it was replaced by a new 6.6-litre Duramax turbodiesel V-8 making 445 hp and 910 lb-ft in today’s truck.

Similarly, the 1999 Ford Super Duty’s 7.3-litre Power Stroke V-8 made 225 hp and 450 lb-ft but was replaced mid-cycle by a 6.0-litre turbocharged Power Stroke V-8 that put out 325 hp and 570 lb-ft; for 2008, the then-new 6.4-litre turbocharged Power Stroke V-8 made 350 and 650, respectively, and today’s 6.7-litre turbocharged Power Stroke V-8 makes 450 hp and 935 lb-ft.

The Dodge Ram HD (which became the Ram HD models in 2010) introduced a new 5.9-litre Cummins turbodiesel inline-6 in 1998; it made 235 hp and 460 lb-ft. and grew to 325 and 610, respectively, by the time it was replaced by a 6.7-litre Cummins turbodiesel I-6 (350 hp/650 lb-ft) for 2007. Today’s 6.7 Cummins turbodiesel I-6 makes 385 hp and 930 lb-ft.