The all-new 2017 Ford F-Series Super Duty pickups are coming soon, due to arrive at dealerships by the end of the year. And in the lead up to that day, Ford has been teasing us with a lot of news about how they’ve been proving it out.

The latest red meat to the crowd is a look at how they’ve been testing the new aluminum bodied Super Duty to see how it performs pulling tough mountain grades such as the Davis Dam grade in Western Arizona.

To do this, they’ve always used a dynamometer sled which is a trailer towed behind the truck that provides accurate levels of load and resistance to simulate hills, mountains, and various towing loads.

The problem Ford faced, is that with the expanded capabilities of the new Super Duty, they needed a tougher dyno sled. The older ones only provided about 2,000 pounds of pull resistance, so they’ve adopted a newer, larger and meaner one that has more than twice that now at 5,620 pounds of resistance.

What this means to their testing is that the the sled can simulate up to a 30 percent grade right at the level test track of Ford’s Arizona Proving Grounds, just west of Phoenix. It allows them to virtually test the trucks using the map and elevation metrics of any major grade in North America.

In terms of the Super Duty, it allowed them to load the program for the Davis Dam grade which all truck companies use to test their trucks to certify them for the SAE 00000 towing standard. The grade near Bullhead City, AZ goes from sea level to more than 3,000 feet of elevation in just 11.2 miles.

And while these trucks have already been seen testing up on the Davis Dam grade for a couple of years now, even in one case notoriously burning to the ground on the side of the road, having this tool in their arsenal allows them to perform this prove out right at home without all the drama.

The 2017 Ford F-Series Super Duty will be the first truly all-new heavy-duty pickup from Ford since the late 1990’s. Ford hasn’t yet released technical specs for the new trucks other than to outline the basic engine choices.

This means horsepower and torque specifications for engines like the 6.7 liter PowerStroke diesel V8 and the 6.2 liter gasoline V8 haven’t yet been let loose. Furthermore, we’re still waiting as of this video for towing and payload specs.

The thing is, Ford wants to stay on top in sales. And rolling the dice on their most profitable trucks with the changeover to aluminum bodies means they will need to have class topping specs across the board. Thus, when those specs do come, they likely won’t at all be disappointing.

Testing like this we’re seeing tells us Ford has been dotting their i’s and crossing their t’s to make sure they have all ducks in a row for its big roll-out coming soon.

The new 2017 Ford F-Series Super Duty will be on the ground by year’s end and my expectation is we’ll be test driving them this fall both on and off-road.