Ford, Ram Fight Over HD Truck Tow Ratings

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Ford, Ram Fight Over HD Truck Tow Ratings
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Ford and Ram have both laid claim to best-in-class tow ratings for their heavy-duty pickup trucks.

The Ram 3500 heavy-duty pickup is rated to tow up to 30,000 lbs and today Chrysler said that rating is sufficient to give it a best-in-class tow rating. Ford issued its own press release claiming the same title for its F-450 pickup.

“We leave no doubt with customers that the F-450 pickup truck has best-in-class towing of 31,200 pounds whether tested using our own internal towing standards or SAE J2807,” Ford product development chief Raj Nair said in an official statement. Chrysler also said today that its Ram 3500 heavy duty pickup truck has best-in-class tow ratings with capacity for pulling up to 30,000 lbs with the Ram 3500. Both Ram and Ford claim the trucks in question qualify as class 3 trucks.

According to Ford, the rating means its F-450 can tow a load 2,200 lbs heavier than its closest competitor, but that’s where it gets complicated. Ford’s claim is based on a comparison to the Ram 3500 4×4 Crew Cab, which isn’t the highest-rated truck in the Ram lineup. When comparing top tow ratings despite the body style of truck, the F-450 out tows the Ram 3500 by just 1,200 pounds. But the issue is still deeper.

A class 3 designation stipulates that the truck in question must sit at or below a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of 14,000 lbs and according to specifications released by Ford, the F-450 falls exactly at that number.2014-ram-3500

Ford has fallen under fire in the past for how it justifies the ratings it releases for its trucks. For example, the company recently admitted that it deletes common parts from its trucks, like the radio and bumper, in order to achieve higher payload ratings and a lower GVWR.

Ram’s claim to the best-in-class rating implies that the F-450 isn’t legitimately a class 3 truck; something that Ford truck spokesman Mike Levine addressed over Twitter. “Can’t be more clear: The F-450 pickup uses F-350 pickup frame. It’s not a F-450 chassis cab with a box. Different frames and rail spacings” (sic).

“Ram Truck stands firm on our claims within the 350/3500 segment with best-in-class 30,000 pounds of towing capacity, best-in-class 865 lb.-ft. of torque and best-in-class payload of 7,390 pound. Additionally, unlike our competitors,  our entire 2015 Ram Heavy Duty line up adheres to J2807 test criteria, not just one model,” Chrysler said in an official statement.

The J2807 towing standard is, itself, a controversial topic. Toyota began complying in 2011 with the standard set in place by the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE), but until this year the Japanese automaker was the only company to rate its trucks accordingly. The J2807 standard is meant to offer a standardized figure followed by every manufacturer to offer customers a uniform way to gauge capability instead of internal tests with differing components. Earlier this year, Ford, General Motors and Ram all finally began rating their trucks according to the SAE system.

Discuss this story at our Ram Trucks Forum or our Ford Trucks Forum

  • Bug S Bunny

    At what point is it decided that a truck is unable to tow any more weight? Is it when the truck and load don’t move when the accelerator is pressed? Is it when the wheels just spin with no forward progress? Is it when the transmission upchucks a gear or two? I haven’t seen a single article which answers these questions.

  • Wes Luchau

    Bug S Bunny says it all !

  • Private Sam

    My goodness no you want to know what these truck can really do talk to any Freind you may know in the military
    They pull 65000 lbs communication trailers with ford trucks and been doing it as far back as 2003 with f450 with the 6.0 diesel every one thinks is so terrible and it pulled them well from Pennsylvania to California up some very big hills on the way.
    U see the military has no road restriction if that plate says us gov no state cop has any authority.

    These truck can and is proven can haul at least double what they are rated at.

    And no the military issue truck don’t have different drive trains. Usually lower gear ratios

  • Cak301

    Why in the world would the military with all its resources use a f350 to pull a 65k communication tower across the country. That is not only stupid but just dangerous to anybody else sharing the road with them.

  • Donjohn

    You my friend are an idiot. Maybe 6500, 65,000 haha no. If they could do that why would they even make semi trucks anymore.
    If you know anything about the government and how it operates, they very much look at the trucks specifications and what it can handle. They have engineers and transportation specialists, and they also follow the trucks specifications for warranty porpoises.

    And beyond that you cannot safely exceed much beyond double the gvwr of the truck with a trailer. Could you imagine a 14,000 lb truck towing 4x it’s own weight safely? The values are what it can do safely, including stoping the load. That value 30,000lbs is not the max it could get moving, usually it’s the maximum it can stop in a timely manor

  • Brad25Tdk

    You just made your self sound like an idiot hahaha how much do you think a semi weighs Lmao and do they not pull 4x their own weight all the time what ignorance ppl like you have when you think you no what your talking about and you put your own foot in your mouth right from the start and yes the military will use these truck to pull mass amounts of weight cause the no what they are really capable of because of there engineers and transportation specialist and there not governed by the dot like your normal civilians are

  • Terrance

    I guess none of you really look at the numbers that these engines and drive trains are designed for, remember the beloved 7.3 power stroke, this power plant was designed to handle 60,000 lbs and has been used in 3/4 ton to 5 ton vehicles. I personally transport my 40ft excavator with a 2002 v10 F350 to all my job sites with no issues.

  • Private Sam

    The example I give is true
    A small town in pa. Ellwood city builds these units.
    65 to 70,000 pounds communication trailers that are married to Ford F4 50 and 550 6.0 liter automatic truck pull them from Pennsylvania to California to put them on military ships to take them to Iraq
    This has been a few years ago since the last one was completed
    But shows you the potential a f450 has.
    That drive tran can handle a load way heavier that American dot allows it.

  • Pickup Trucker

    There is a tow standard now so everyone tests the same way to determine highest tow ratings. .It deals with acceleration and stopping, although the trailer is supposed to have enough braking power to stop itself. In addition, tow ratings are based on the weakest link. So the motor can move 100k pounds, but the suspension cannot or most likely when to get to over 15k pounds, the HITCH itself can’t – which is why you end up have 5th wheel or goosneck trailers (GN). Military uses a pintle hitch system (at least that is what I see them use most commonly) which is rated to handle much higher weight than 5th wheel”s and GNs. You also have TIRES to worry about and the more weight a tire can handle the harder it is to get a high speed rating out of them. One of the reason the F450 has a 81 MPH speed limiter on it (at least the pre-2011’s did). Stock tires are rated for 81 MPH. The heavy hauling military vehicles I see all have low speed, but high weight handling tires on them.

    Also, ever seen a fast military convoy? I sure haven’t.

  • James Chadwick

    In most of the western states a semi truck that weighs 14-15k is pulling an additional 114k behind for a total of 129k through the mountains all day. So using the same proportion with an F450 weighing in at 9k, the 70k trailer fits right into that range.

  • john

    Who would want to tow 60,000 lbs with an F450. I sure wouldn’t. I’ll take the medium duty trucks with air brakes and the trailers with air brakes that can safely stop.
    I drive an F-750 everyday with air brakes along with an air brake tag trailer. My pintle hitch is rated at 100,000 lb capacity with 50,000 lb tongue weight capacity.

    Good luck with the F-450 and electric trailer brakes with that kind of weight. Sure, it might move 60,000 lbs down the road, but if you are in a wreck (probably because you couldn’t stop it) I’d love to be there when the insurance man shows up.

  • Beej

    The article didn’t say the F-450 could tow 60,000lbs. It said it was rated at 31,200 lbs, just 1200 more than the Ram with the highest rating.

  • beej

    You obviously aren’t a truck driver. A typical rig weighs around 20,000lbs, a little more, perhaps a little less. And most trucks are limited to 80,000lbs (depending on the state). If you see a truck with one long trailer, it is only 80,000 total, truck/trailer/cargo. Only trucks hauling double and triple trailers are allowed to haul more than that, and that requires special licensing and permits. Some states require slower maximum speeds on these heavy vehicles. And if you see a 130k load on a mountain pass it certainly isn’t getting up those mountains with any amount of speed or ease.

  • Beej

    I agree, I wouldn’t think of towing 60k with such a small truck. Braking is definitely the issue. And I don’t believe that there is any state in the lower 48 that would allow a truck that is rated by it’s manufacturer at 30k, to have a trailer load of 60 or 65k. These loads are required to be weighed every time it crosses a state border, sometimes twice, and sometimes again in the middle of the state, depending on the highway.

  • James Chadwick

    You obviously haven’t been to Utah lately. Try googling “rocky mountain double.” I never stated anything about only a single trailer, although at last in Utah there are super tanker trailers with extra axles that do weigh that much, just what the legal weight was in many western states. And the semi truck that I drive daily is heavier than some and weighs 17k. I also don’t remember saying how quickly these trucks climb the hills, but they legally and safely do it daily. One pass in particular that you should know since you are do knowledgeable about trucking is Parley’s Summit on I80. So once you get your facts straight, try again telling me I don’t have any idea what I’m talking about.

  • john

    My reply was in regards to the replies by others below. I know what the article stated.

  • http://FifthWheeSt.com/ David Gray

    No one tows with a base truck right out the dealership, therefore, the published tow ratings cannot be trusted. The best towing calculator available is RV Tow Check.