Readers may recall that when Ford Motor Co. retooled its Super Duty line of big F-Series pickups in 2007, it also fell into a contract dispute with International Truck and Engine, the outsource manufacturer for Ford's much-touted new 6.4-liter Power Stroke V8 diesel engines. International temporarily halted shipments of the engines and both parties went to court to straighten it all out.

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Ford apparently learned a lesson from that dispute and is now about to launch its own in-house engineered and built Power Stroke V-8 turbocharged diesel engines in 2010 for 2011 model-year trucks. Big Blue promises that the new mills will offer best-in-class towing and payload capability along with some significant technological innovations, including a compacted graphite iron (CGI) engine block, a material the company claims is twice as strong as ordinary cast iron.

According to Ford, the use of CGI allowed the manufacturer to boost the engines' torque and horsepower without increasing size and weight. The new engines represent the introduction of compacted graphite iron blocks in North America, although Ford uses the material in engine blocks produced and sold overseas.