In the never-ending pickup battle for Max Towing Supremacy, the Ford Super Duty reclaims the lead from GM after a quick announcement at the 2012 Texas Auto Writers Association's Truck Rodeo. (To see the full press release, click here.)
Ford has announced that the 2013 Super Duty F-350 dualie will have an increased maximum conventional towing capacity, now rated at 18,500 pounds, up from 17,000 pounds. Also, the same package will have a slightly larger maximum payload capacity of 7,260 pounds, up 100 pounds from the previous maximum payload number.
Both the Super Duty's maximum payload and maximum conventional towing numbers are best-in-class ratings for the heavy-duty truck segment, for now. Astute readers will recall, it was just before our popular Heavy-Duty Hurt Locker multistate, multitruck max-tow test that GMC announced it was upping its maximum conventional towing number to lead the one-ton class. (we also included a good max-towing time line as well.)
We predicted then that it wouldn't take long before either Ford or Ram Truck responded. Clearly, this took longer than expected. The new 2013 Ram HD, which recently debuted at the 2012 State Fair of Texas, has yet to release its exact max towing or payload numbers for the significantly upgraded trucks; they'll do that at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit in January.
Ford fans are sure to point out that the F-450 Super Duty leads all personal-use pickups with a best-in-class fifth-wheel rated maximum towing number of 24,500 pounds. Of course, GM no longer has a Class IV or Class V medium-duty truck, and Ram Truck does not offer a personal-use Ram HD 4500 or 5500 model.
The obvious question here is whether or not the increased ratings were achieved with any chassis or mechanical changes, and the short answer is no. The springs, shocks and powertrain all remain exactly the same; however, the brakes have been improved by offering larger rotors and brake pads to all Super Duty pickups. (It should go without saying these are non-J2807 factory numbers because Ford has already said it won't use those SAE procedures for calculating maximum towing numbers until an all-new model of Super Duty comes out.)
Engineers increased the brake-rotor swept area by 16.4 percent in front and 14.5 percent in rear for maximum braking to help dissipate heat, especially on long downhill grades. Additionally, Ford engineers retuned the booster to improve the brake feel and included a larger parking brake for F-250 and F-350 models.
“We’ve really improved brake feel,” said Michael Watkins, lead Super Duty brake system engineer. “There’s refined modulation in the pedal – you really feel the stopping power. With a full load of cargo, drivers will notice strong, confidence-inspiring brakes.”
Exact GVW and payload numbers for specific models are yet to come, but we'll report that info as soon as we get our hands on it.