We know it created quite a stir last week when we posted some test data we collected from the media launch of the 2015 Ford Super Dutys in West Virginia.
Through a combination of luck and skill (and maybe just a touch of deception), we were able to take out the two monster pullers from the heavy-duty segment — meaning the two vehicles that have and are now heavily promoting themselves to have the highest maximum fifth-wheel/gooseneck towing numbers — for a quick-and-dirty back-to-back hill-climb test with some VBOX test equipment.
To its credit, Ford had several competitor, similarly equipped, vehicles with various types of fifth-wheel and bumper-pull trailers on hand for us to sample throughout the event. We thought you might be interested in those results, so we're giving you the numbers here (see below). Full disclosure: Speeds and measurements were taken from visual verification of factory speedometer readings and not from our VBOX test equipment; data also came from manufacturer price sheets and tags on the rear axles that we could verify. All the one-ton fifth-wheel towing vehicles did have 3.73:1 gears, the manufacturer's max-output turbo-diesel engine and all the appropriate towing options.
The only thing we could not verify were the exact weights of the trucks and trailers, but after visually inspecting and noting the compensating sandbag weights in the beds of the trucks where necessary, we're confident that each fifth-wheel camper trailer was comparable with each Chevrolet, Ram and Ford one-ton dualie crew cabs.
We should note that the factory ratings of these vehicles do not include anyone's maximum towing or gross vehicle or gross combined weight rating numbers; however, because they are all crew cab one-tons with 3.73:1 gearing and automatics with their highest-output turbodiesels, the numbers should all be relatively close.
This was a relatively unscientific look at the Chevy Silverado HD versus the Ford Super Duty versus the Ram HD. As many of you know, we are preparing one of the most comprehensive HD comparison tests PickupTrucks.com has ever done as we write this, but those much more organized and rigorous test results will be coming in just a few weeks. For now, this will have to do.
To conduct this test we took each identically setup one-ton HD pickup (the 2015 Chevy Silverado 3500 Duramax, the 2014 Ram 3500 HD Cummins and the 2015 Ford F-350 Power Stroke) on a stretch of Interstate 64 near the New River Gorge in West Virginia and matched a starting speed of 65 mph at a designated point at the base of a long, 7 percent grade; we then went to wide-open throttle to check speeds at two separate designated signposts one mile and one-and-a-half miles up the road. Here are the results.
Cars.com photos by Mark Williams and Bruce Smith