Old News: Comparing New Trucks To 1999 Super Duty Sales Brochure

In my area, there are a ton of car and truck dealerships. While that is not unheard of, it does get me thinking. I recently wondered what it was like back in the 1990s, when the “old” trucks we love filled these lots. I looked back and did some digging and found a few brochures pertaining to a lot of different trucks. It was cool to take this historic look, learning how they marketed these vehicles back then. It was interesting to visually to see the differences and how far trucks have come since then.

What you’re looking at below is a sales brochure for the 1999 Ford Super Duty trucks. It seems as if the majority of the brochure is focusing on the Triton-powered gas trucks, but there are a few details in there of the big 7.3-liter Power Stroke engine option. I get a bit nostalgic reading these. Who else can look at these pictures and actually hear the truck?

I know that some of these pictures are hard to see and read, so I will decipher through the highlights. But, can anyone here remember the last time they saw one of these trucks this clean? (Besides when they were new)

Power Stroke Is The Class Leader

In 1999, the 7.3-liter engine was apparently the largest diesel engine available, and it offered the most horsepower and torque. Pumping out 235-horsepower at 2,700 rpm and a “whopping” 500 lb/ft of torque at 1,600 rpm for big low-end muscle.

Ford credits the performance of this engine to its advanced fuel injection system and new charge air cooler. The equipped waste-gated turbocharger offers high, low-end torque for grade climbing and towing. The 7.3L is also designed for cold-weather starting with a glow plug in every cylinder, allowing it to start in temperatures down to -20 F without external aid. 

I don’t see what is stated here to be unreasonable. These trucks were — and still are — dependable in my opinion. I find it amazing how the power and torque levels have come as far as they have.

The Power Stroke diesel engine features the efficiency of the HEUI injector system. (Hydraulic-Actuated, Electronically-Controlled Unit Injector). The only system like it in its class. This system has been redesigned to create a quieter diesel operation. 

I don’t remember how loud engines were prior to the 7.3 — with the exception of the 12- and 24-valve Cummins engines — but the 7.3 isn’t exactly the quietest thing in the world. I don’t know what they’re comparing to is what I am trying to say.

’99 Interior Details

Moving on to the interior, I can still feel the comfort of these seats. Again, this is all my opinion, but I feel like Ford trucks have their own smell and feel. Believe me or not, that’s my opinion. In this brochure, Ford is pitching the consumer on the largest interior in its class and that it offers best-in-class quality materials.

Regardless of the model, choosing a Super Duty F-series assures you of the roomiest cab available in its class. A comfortable sanctuary in which to do the thinking part of the job at hand. 

The luxurious Lariat SuperCab, as shown, offers the 40/20/40 split front bench with leather-trimmed upholstery in Medium Prairie Tan.

I will say, these older trucks did have a comfortable interior. But, it seems like most truck enthusiasts can agree that GM interiors have always been the most comfortable. I feel like nowadays that has changed because Ford has certainly stepped up in that department. What do you think?

21 Year Difference

It is no secret the new Ford trucks are some of the nicest vehicles on the roads today. However, when you compare them to these 1999 models, if you’re like me, you might actually realize you have forgotten what they were like back then. Things were a lot simpler. Although they look completely different, and the interiors are lightyears nicer and more advanced, it is only looks.

I also looked into the dimensions of the old trucks and compared them to newer ones. What I learned is the differences are equal or less than a 1/4 inch. It’s all about wheelbase, headroom, hip room, legroom, cargo space, and more. Altogether, it’s all really pretty close.

Comparing the two engines. the 7.3-liter and the newer 6.7-liter Power Stroke, they are quite different, as you would expect. Since ’99, the engine no longer uses the HEUI injection system and has upgraded to the, at least in my opinion, a more dependable high-pressure common rail system. As for charging systems, the 7.3 had a 130-amp alternator and dual 12-volt, 750cca batteries. Today, they are equipped with a 175-amp alternator and the same twin 750cca batteries.

While both engines are V8 configurations, they are quite different in the structure of the two. The 7.3 was a completely cast-iron unit, whereas today’s 6.7 is a newer, compacted-graphite-iron block with aluminum cylinders heads. Other engine differences I noticed are the compression ratios.

The 7.3 churned out power with a compression ratio of 17:15:1. The 6.7 has a 15:18:1 ratio, which is making quite a bit more power. At 2,700 rpm, the SAE net horsepower rating for the 7.3 is 235-horsepower and 500 lb/ft of torque at 1,600 rpm.

Over the last few months, we’ve actually been able to tinker with one of these trucks on multiple occasions. Be sure and check out all of our ongoing projects!

The 6.7 is making 475-horsepower at 2,600 rpm and 1,050 lb/ft of torque at 1,600 rpm. Yes, you probably already knew the new truck stats, but look at the difference when side-by-side. That is something I haven’t seen. I knew the trucks weren’t on the same planet when it comes to a comparison, but wow, have diesel engines come a long way.

At 100 less RPM, the 6.7-liter Power Stroke is making 240-horsepower more, which is double the “the biggest and most powerful” engine in its class in 1999. As for torque, that’s another deal. 500 lb/ft of torque is nothing to cry about. That is quite a bit of power, but only when talking about 20 years ago. The 7.3-liter has over 1,000-lb/ft of torque at the same RPM. It’s crazy to realize what 20 years of research and development does.

Driveline

In some cases, people trust the older transmission more than the new ones. Back in 1999, these trucks came equipped with the 4R100 automatic transmission. Ford’s 4R100 was the replacement for the late E40D and managed to make it all the way through life with the 7.3 until they were phased out. The 4R100 proved to be a reliable driveline for these trucks — at stock performance levels.

However, when enthusiasts drastically changed the torque output of their truck, the transmissions become the weak link. Nowadays, that isn’t an issue because Ford has many years of research and development invested, and you can now push a 4R100 to north of 1,000-horsepower without an issue.

In 2020, things are a little bit different. When building a truck now — some twenty years later — power output can easily be doubled, and you need a transmission that will do as its told. Here comes the TorqShift 10R140 (also known as the TorqShift 10). This ten-speed automatic was just introduced this year for use in Super Duty applications.

Not to say that the 4R100 and their builders aren’t smart, but these new transmissions are smarter. The 10R140 utilizes an adaptive-learning strategy that monitors the function of the transmission and modifies the shifting schedule to create positive, seamless gear shifts, regardless of the driving conditions.

Unlike the 4R100, this transmission also features multiple modes, including normal, tow/haul, economy, and deep sand/snow. Imagine what they would’ve said in ’99 if we mentioned the transmission would be learning our every move.

Splitting The Differences

4R100 Transmission

-Fits 1999-2003 Super Duty trucks with 7.3-liter engine

-Four-Speed Automatic W/ Overdrive

-Resides From Sharonville Transmission Plant, Sharonville, Ohio

-Aluminum construction

-1,000 lb/ft of torque max input

-270lbs dry with torque converter

TorqShift 10R140 Transmission (TorqeShift 10′)

-10-Speed Automatic

-Unknown Manufacturing Plant

-Fits 2020 Ford Super Duty

-Cast Aluminum Construction

-330lbs without fluid

-Selectable drive modes that offer alternative shift schedules based on road/terrain conditions

-Adaptive learning strategy

-High output stationary power take-off provisions

-Lightweight; only 3.5 lbs heavier than the 6-speed TorqShift transmission

-Utilizes ultra-low viscosity automatic transmission fluid for improved efficiency and lower transmission losses

I thought this was a pretty cool brochure and possibly an indication of a new series here at Diesel Army. If you thought this was a fun one to read, let us know. We can probably get connected with the other manufacturers and see what different years offered when compared to late models. For more truck reviews, event coverage, and part reviews, stay tuned to Diesel Army.

About the author

Artie Maupin

Artie Maupin is from Southeast Missouri and has an extreme passion for anything diesel. He loves drag racing of all kinds, as well as sled pulling competitions.
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