Chrysler’s Ram truck brand raised the bar considerably when it announced a new heavy duty pickup capable of towing 30,000 lbs with a monstrous 850 lb-ft of torque. Now it’s Ford’s turn to push the limits of what a pickup can do.
Ford calls its trucks Super Duties and they’re certainly out to prove it with a new 2015 lineup of models. A second generation 6.7-liter Power Stroke V8 turbo diesel raises output to a best-in-class 440 hp and 860 lb-ft of torque – 10 lb-ft more than the Cummins-powered Ram.
Dropped under the hood of an F-350 and the max tow rating with a fifth-wheel/gooseneck is raised to 26,500 lbs with a gross combined weight rating to 35,000 pounds. Falling short of the Ram, Ford has another trick up its sleeve with the F-450 pickup that can now deliver a best-in-the-business 31,200 lbs with a gooseneck (up 6500 lbs) or 26,500 with a fifth-wheel. The gross combined weight rating (the combined weight of the truck, trailer and payload) is also tops at 40,000 lbs.
Upgrades to the engine include new injectors and a larger turbocharger between the cylinder banks in Ford’s innovative layout, helping to improve turbo response. The engine block itself is also made of compacted graphite iron, which is both stronger and lighter than cast iron.
In addition to the new engine, chassis upgrades were required to meet the new tow ratings with F-350 models offering an upgraded tow package that includes new front springs and a wide track axle. As for the F-450 it gains commercial-grade 19.5-inch wheels and tires; upgraded rear U-joints and other suspension components including new rear leaf springs as well as new stabilizer bars and shocks in the front and rear. And with all that towing capability, Ford also upgraded the brakes.
“Our chassis people work in unison with our powertrain people to develop more than a great truck, it’s a machine engineered for work,” said Doug Scott, Ford Truck group marketing manager. “We’re the only manufacturer that develops and builds our own powertrains in this class and when you combine that with a chassis that’s purpose-built for best-in-class power and torque, you can feel the result in the way it drives, especially when towing big loads.”
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