Heavy-Duty Half-Tons are Familiar Territory

Ram-1500-tradesman-hd rear II
Ram created quite a stir at the State Fair of Texas last month when it introduced the Ram Tradesman 1500 HD, essentially a cleverly reskinned three-quarter-ton long-bed heavy-duty pickup truck dressed in the 1500 hood and fascia sheet metal instead of 2500 HD clothing.

Sure, it allows Ram owners to brag about having the biggest 1500 hauling and towing numbers of any half-ton on the market, but it’s not really a half-ton, is it? Further, what’s to stop Ford or GM from putting 1-ton underpinnings on a truck with a half-ton face and upping the ante once again? The truth is, nothing, though that could cut into Ram HD sales.  

The only risk any manufacturer runs when reskinning an existing platform is muddying the waters among the different package offerings, but we’re not sure that matters too much as long as the manufacturer makes sure to stay true to the specific personality of the truck it’s selling. And Ram looks to be doing a pretty good job of that compared with other brands. Packages like the Outdoorsman, the Tradesman and the Express allow a lot of room to play. But reskinning or stretching the name game isn’t new by any means, especially when it comes to HD “half-tons.” 

2005 Chevy 1500 HD II
GM, near the beginning of the four-full-size-door craze almost 20 years ago, realized it didn’t have enough crew-cab models in its half-ton (or compact pickup) lineup, and that seemed to be where all the big market gains were coming from at the time. To bridge that gap temporarily, while the latest version of the half-ton GMT800 crew-cab models were production-constrained, Chevy used a 2500 crew-cab platform and skinned it with the more familiar half-ton sheet metal and called it the Chevy Silverado 1500 HD. This was also the same period when GM introduced the computer-controlled four-wheel steering system called Quadrasteer, which required many 2500 HD parts as well. The 1500 HD survived from 2001 to 2006. 

2007 F-150_HD II
Ford also experimented with a more work-designed half-ton platform and incorporated some interesting bed solutions as well, like this cool midbox option. The heavy-duty payload package was part of the F-150 choices for several years, and we thought one might even come with an F-150 HD baby PowerStroke as late as 2010, but that never happened. We never heard exactly what happened with that project, but it’s likely our spy shooters where fooled by the tailpipes and SuperCrew configuration. Whether or not a heavy-duty F-150 will come back with a smaller turbo-diesel or maybe a larger EcoBoost engine remains to be seen. 


                        2005 Chevy 1500 HD       2007 Ford F-150     2012 Ram Tradesman HD   

Max. Payload                3,073                             3,050                         3,100 

Max. Towing                 9,000                             11,000                       11,500

Max. GVWR                  8,600                              8,200                         8,585

Max. GCWR                 17,600                            15,800                       17,500

Ram-tradesman-hd-ghost II

Ram Tradesman HD frame II

Ram-1500-Tradesman-HD-hub II

Ram Trandesman HD badge II

Comments

I'm waiting for they copied us or we did it first crap to start. A good idea is a good idea. If it fills a gap in a vehicle line up great idea. I like to see companies meeting customer needs and be cost effective as well.

GM didn't "Re-skin" a 2500 and call it a 1500HD. They changed the badge on the side.

man i like that house in the 1st picture maybe some day i can afford one

@Dan,

It is a very nice house.

Ford never stopped offering a heavy payload pkg. They never came out with a Diesel version but it is still offered as a gas, same as Dodge is offereing. I like all brands and have all brands in our company fleet. I really have 0 brand bias, but must say Dodge is following Ford on this deal.

You can still order a 2012 with it, actually in 2012 they expanded the option to also included crew cab models not just for the 8ft bed trucks anymore.

Ford's heavy payload pkg gets you a 3/4 truck in a half ton body. They did finally in 2011 come out with something besides a grey painted steel wheel to fit there odd 7 lug bolt pattern on this pkg.

In many cases the HD 1/2 ton gas Ford has a higher payload rating then the F250 with a diesel. Another cool deal is that starting in 2011 you can get the HD 1/2 ford with the Ecoboost motor which gets better fuel milage then the diesel 3/4 ton, on less expensive fuel.

bragging rights for manufactures. how many do they sell of these 1/2hd? I bet not alot. a niche non the less

If I could get a truck with four wheel steering I would but it in a heart beat!

FLEETMGR is right. Ford has been selling a F-150 HD for years. It used to the the F-250, which was based on the then-new '96 F-150. It has a GVW of 8100 pounds and payload ~ 3K depending on configuration and trim level.

@vgo
Chevy makes, rather did make 4wheel steer trucks. It was called quadrasteer I think?

Agreed.
Ford had a light F250 that was based on the eighth generation (1997–2004) truck. The F250 designation was dropped and then became the "7700". I still see F250 badged F150's and "7700"s around. I've never been a fan of the 8th generation style.

@DGLR - correct. It didn't sell well. I've only ever seem 2 maybe 3 trucks with it.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quadrasteer

Quadrasteer was a great idea but not enough people shelled out the extra 5k. I give Gm huge credit for coming out with it.

I can sort of see why Ford offers the HD F150, since they'er F250 is a totally different truck from the ground up, including powertrain options.

But with Dodge I don't really see the point, other then slight styling changes to the front clip 1500vs2500 it is the same basic truck as the 2500 Ram.
Looks to me perdomentanly like a badge enginering exercise for the Ram.

Some of these specs aren't that much different than my '08 Sierra reg cab/short bed 1/2 ton has. However, if the price difference is closer to the 1/2 ton vs. 3/4 ton price, for a work truck where capability is more important than the trim packages it contains makes sense.

All Ford and Ram need now, with their "heavy-half" models, is to offer 4-wheel drive. That way half-ton buyers can benefit from a solid-front axle.

The Ford HD F150 is availble in 4x4 but it does not change the front suspension to a solid axle, it is still independent.

An 08 1500 GMC should have had a payload rating somewhere between 1500-2000 pounds. The HD F150 is more like 3000 pounds.

This idea goes back to the mid-70's, when catalytic convertors were first required on vehicles of less than 6000#'s GVW, which at the time included all 1/2 ton full size trucks. The manufacturers came out with heavy duty 1/2 tons with GVW's slightly over 6000#'s, so they could get by without cats (and continue to use regular leaded gasoline, which at the time was cheaper!). The Ford F-150, Dodge D-150, Chevy C-10 'Big Ten' and GMC C-1500 'Heavy Half' were all such trucks.

I use to have a 79 Big Ten heavy half, seems like all they did back then was slap an extra leaf spring or two under the trucks to change the GVW a little and put some decals on the rear corners of the beds.

These current HD models seem to have quite a few difference from they'er normal 1/2 ton brothers, like 3/4 ton axles, shocks springs, E load range tires, ETC.

The only decent truck in this article is the 2nd truck that is black. All of the rest are for Ford girlie men with lots of estrogen!!!! Ford girlie men are much more feminine that Dodge owners

Big Bob-

Thanks for the history lesson! Good information.

I forgot to add that Super Dooty drivers have been known to wear pink panties while driving their trucks and shop at Big Lots stores. This was announced in a recent Gallup pole. There was a 5 percent margin of error if I remember right

I forgot to add that Super Dooty drivers have been known to wear pink panties while driving their trucks and shop at Big Lots stores. This was announced in a recent Gallup pole. There was a 5 percent margin of error if I remember right

Posted by: Bob's Gourmet Chef | Nov 4, 2011 6:40:16 PM


That is what the boss was telling me when I was driving him to work this morning in the Caddy limo. I am not a bit surprised by this.

That's it BOB wreck another comments section. You are such an A$$, makes me ashamed to be a GM owner.

How does an Impala become a limo?
Riding in the back of an Impala with someone else at the wheel?
What was Bob arrested for?

Dodge does it better because they use a full-floating rear axle on their 1/2 ton HD unlike Ford and GM, which use semi-floating.

@ Fiat - what do you expect? its a 3/4 ton truck with a 1500 badge on it.

Lou - stop bashing Ram!

gm 1500 hd was the aswer to 1/2 ton market crew cabs like mark said , in the back they used axle from 2500 non hd model

@FLEETMGR- I think the main reason for the Tradesman HD is for insurance purposes. Otherwise I can't see any advantage to having the fender say 1500 rather than 2500. The Ford really DOES make a lot of sense, if it is the right vehicle for the job. Probably rides a fair bit better, and especially in a 4wd, the step-in height is much nicer. too bad they force the deep gear ratio and big engine on you. In a former life, we used to run around with a 2500# skid in the back, but not much else. the NA V6 could handle that.

@Mrknowitall - You have a point. A few years back in Mex you would see lots of F-350 delivery trucks running around with the 300ci straight six. It was all you needed.

Ford has a Heavy Duty Payload Package, complete with 7 lug wheels and heavy duty bits including (maybe...) a thicker gauge frame - they never stopped building them, but now you need to tick over a box in the options list - I would do that, I like those heavy duty half tons, both the F150 and the Ram 1500 HD!

Delphi-

Bring back the Quadrasteer system and offer it as an aftermarket upgrade!

@fleetmgr

my grandpa had a 78 GMC high sierra "heavy half". i believe at the time you got jb7 breaks instead of jb5. the 350 was a 4 bolt main motor, the rear diff was steeper, it had the extra leaf springs and 6 bolt lugs with a 12 bolt rear instead of the corp. 10 bolt. I'm pretty sure of what i just listed but i could have something wrong i'm reciting from memory not facts.

The problem i have with these offerings is how they advertise them... they make the normal people believe that ALL the trucks they sell can do what the HD package can. This gets compounded by the majority dealerships employees and salespeople's lack of knowledge on these 50 packages, or lack of caring all together and now you have some yo-yo that has NO IDEA what their doing with a load that is FAR exceeding the manufactures suggesting limits on the road with your (and my) family.

just got our 2011 f150 ecoboost with hd pack in an xl reg cab 8ft box, and dumped 2500lbs in it with 8 hrs after purchase and since have 1800 to 2900lbs in the bed 4-5 nights a week it still hasn't hit the bump stops and eco has been super smooth and quiet, 7000 kilometers and hit a great tank at 9 l/100k with the truck hitting around 850 km on the 98L tank, trucks got 3.73 rear end. putting 4x4 on, would've dropped the capacity from 3060lbs to 2500lbs so 2wd will do although 2011 didn't have the option of lockin diff for canadian winter

josh-

Sounds like you have a pretty stout pickup?! Enjoy!

You can't call it a heavy duty if it doesn't have a full-floating rear axle. Ford and GM heavy duty packages for their 1/2 tons don't have it. Dodge needs to offer this in 4WD. The 1/2 ton nose on the RAM looks much better than the 3/4 and 1 tons.

@bob's limo driver - you couldn't give me enough vehicles to even remotely consider being an employee of Bob.
Well maybe if you gave me a loaded Power Wagon, Raptor, Aston Marton DB9, Bugati Veyron SuperSport, Shelby SuperSnake, '60 Corvette convertible, a '71 hemi Cuda, '65 427 AC Cobra, '66 Ford GT 40, '64 Ford Thunderbolt. When Bob gets those vehicles parked in my driveway, I'll drive for him.

Lou-

You better watch out for oxi. You did not have a single Toyota, or any other Asian, product on your list. Be prepared to be flamed.

@Buy American- funny.
I like the Lexus LFA, but there are many other exotics that rate higher in my books. Toyota isn't known for building anything exciting. THe make reliable but bland products.
I like the Datsun 240Z.
The majority of Japanese stuff I really like are motorcycles. I'd love to have an oval pistoned Honda 500cc NR500 Grand Prix sportbike, or its street legal equivalent, the NR750. I wouldn't mind a Honda RC45 and RC30, a Kawasaki HI and H2 triple, a first generation GSXR750, an assortment of Honda Elsinore's, the list would go on and on.

The F-150 is more likes 5000 pounds payload, and it can tow your house down, ford is the only real HD Pickup, the ram is newer compared to the 07 and 06 they compare, lol the dodge would beak if u put a 2x4 in it. we all know fords where its at.

Lou-

I would love to find a couple of Honda Odyssey quads for my two kids. I would not mind having a Nissan GT-R. I would not buy one of course -but if I happened to win one or come by one for free that would be a different story. I would just slap on some Mercury and Cougar emblems (of the late-'90s/early-'00s to try to hide it's identity.

Someone said this above and is absolutely right, I have a 2000 Silverado 2500 (standard duty) and if I stripped the badges and nothing else you couldnt tell the difference from the 2001 Silverado 1500 HD's I see running around from time to time. Honestly most half tons coming out these days are essentially 1500HD's and most tow as much or more than the original 2500LD's and 1500HD's

They went to the "heavy duty" 1/2 tons in 1975 when the government mandated unleaded gas for cars and for trucks under a certain GVW. Ford added larger tires and heavier springs on the F-100 and rebadged it the F-150. For almost 10 years they sold both the F-100 and the F-150. Eventually the mandate for trucks to use unleaded gas expanded to 8500 GVW, so there was no need for two 1/2 tons and the F-100 was discontinued in favor of the F-150, which had some continuity with the badging of Ford pickups (F-150, F-250, F-350). When the "Super Duty" line was introduced for the '99 model year, then the F-450, F-550 were introduced, and the medium duty models (F-600, F-700, F-750) were renamed F-650 and F-750, eliminating the F-700). There has been talk of Ford introducing a tandem axle F-850 (also a previous model many years ago), but it has never been built.

@Buy American - Polaris has a side by side for kids with a 170 cc 4 stroke. I'm considering getting a couple for my boys.
http://www.polarisindustries.com/en-ca/ATV-RANGER/Youth/RANGER-RZR-170/pages/overview.aspx?WT.si_n=ORV-TopNav-T3-Model-r12va17a-2012_rgr_rzr_170&WT.si_x=1
Funny that you mention changing or shaving off emblems, I was reading about a guy with a '68 Galaxie 500. It was set up as a drag racer. He deliberately left all the badges off because most people had no idea what it was.

@Bob's Gourmet Chef - your a crappy cook so Bob has you driving him around in his Impala?

I think this Truck is a great idea. This truck has the best of both the 1500's and 2500's it has the 2500hd's leaf springs for that extra towing ability that the coil springs on the 1500 just don't give you. Also instead of a solid front axle like the 2500hd's it has an independent front suspension like the 1500 which I think should make for a little nicer ride. I for one will be checking this Truck out when it hits the car lots here.

You can't call it a heavy duty if it doesn't have a full-floating rear axle. Ford and GM heavy duty packages for their 1/2 tons don't have it. Dodge needs to offer this in 4WD. The 1/2 ton nose on the RAM looks much better than the 3/4 and 1 tons.


Posted by: Fiat | Nov 6, 2011 12:23:08 AM


if you loof at the dodge frame picture, it look at a full floating axle to me, but when you look at the front hub on the next picture, it look like a dually front wheel so maybe the picture are not good

Someone said this above and is absolutely right, I have a 2000 Silverado 2500 (standard duty) and if I stripped the badges and nothing else you couldnt tell the difference from the 2001 Silverado 1500 HD's I see running around from time to time. Honestly most half tons coming out these days are essentially 1500HD's and most tow as much or more than the original 2500LD's and 1500HD's


Posted by: old news | Nov 6, 2011 7:38:29 PM


the only difference is the cab 1500hd were all crew cab model, 2500 ld, could been regular cab and king cab

bigtowing,
Dodge is the only one with a full-floater. It's the only true heavy duty of the 1/2 tons.

"@fleetmgr

my grandpa had a 78 GMC high sierra "heavy half". i believe at the time you got jb7 breaks instead of jb5. the 350 was a 4 bolt main motor, the rear diff was steeper, it had the extra leaf springs and 6 bolt lugs with a 12 bolt rear instead of the corp. 10 bolt. I'm pretty sure of what i just listed but i could have something wrong i'm reciting from memory not facts.

The problem i have with these offerings is how they advertise them... they make the normal people believe that ALL the trucks they sell can do what the HD package can. This gets compounded by the majority dealerships employees and salespeople's lack of knowledge on these 50 packages, or lack of caring all together and now you have some yo-yo that has NO IDEA what their doing with a load that is FAR exceeding the manufactures suggesting limits on the road with your (and my) family"

I here ya on the sales peoples product knowledge. It's typically a joke.

I am not sure about all that old GM info reguarding the heavy halfs of the 70s other then I know mine had only 5 lug wheels, just like the other 2wd models. Back in those days, only the 4x4s had 6 lug wheels. All I knew about on my 79 was the extra leaf springs, and by 79 I am pretty sure it was unleaded only, but that was 25 years ago for me when I owned that truck, but I am sure about the wheels only being 5 lug wheels.

Ford has been making heavy halfs well light 3/4 for ever. Before the 7700 / f250 of the late 90's the previous generation had a light duty 3/4 f250. Same f250/ f350 frame , same body as f250 which was the same as the halfs of the era, but with less than 8500 gvw and a semi floating rear axle instead of a full floating rear. I've seen one in my whole entire life but, they do exist.



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