Talking Trucks Tuesday: What's in a Ton?

Three 1-tons IIA

By G.R. Whale

Anyone versed in standards and sciences will tell you one ton is either 2,000 pounds or 1,000 kilograms (2,205 pounds), depending on which country you are in. But when it comes to pickup trucks, the terms now require clarification.

If you do a little research, you can find the first mention of a "one-ton" truck about a century ago; even one of the best-known non-pickup vehicles in the world — the Jeep — was designed as a quarter-ton vehicle. And that meant it had exactly 500 pounds of payload capacity, just as a one-ton truck was designed to carry 2,000 pounds of payload. But nowadays, that's all changed.

Although the nomenclature has been consistent, with half-ton designators always beginning with the numeral 1 (F-1, C-10, D100 and 1500), three-quarter tons with a 2 (F-250 or 2500) and one tons with 3 (F-350 or 3500), as advertising became more competitive and consumers grew in importance, capacities and conventional naming overlapped. The result is that today there are half tons, depending on how they're equipped, that can't carry 1,000 pounds and others that can easily carry twice that much. In fact, almost every three-quarter ton (including the new fence-sitting Nissan Titan XD) carries at least that much. And the workhorse one-ton pickup trucks usually offer payload ratings somewhere between 4,000 and just less 8,000 pounds, crushing their one-ton predecessors.

It's worth noting, a Ford F-450 Super Duty, which sounds like a 1 1/4-ton truck class (above a one ton), does have the same maximum gross vehicle weight rating as the other one tons; in fact, the King Ranch version actually carries less payload than an equivalent Ford F-350 Super Duty, yet it uses notably stronger front suspension components, more expensive, long-wearing, stiffer-riding tires, different axle gears and a few other beefier modifications (however, both do have a 14,000-pound GVWR). The point here is, even within the same brand, the ton designations don't always match up. What do you call a one-ton pickup, and does it matter what your manufacturer of choice calls it? Or has the "ton" designation for pickups been rendered obsolete?

(Editor's note: All quoted specs are for 2016 model-year pickups with the exception of the 2017 Ford F-350/450 Super Duty.)

Cars.com photo by Evan Sears; Cars.com graphic by Paul Dolan

 

Comments

Don't care for name designation. I look as GVWR. Though the conventional name designation is a starting points.

Guess that makes Ram 1500 the only 1/4 ton pickup truck out there...

I can remember going on a ride in one of those 1/4 ton jeeps.
It was me, the driver, two M60A3 road wheels in the back seat and 3 more in the trailer we were pulling. Going through 2 feet of snow. In colorado. Went through a steep ditch, front bumper hit the ground. He powered straight ahead through it.
I figured when the trailer followed us through the ditch we would be stuck.
Nope.

Good times, good times.

"One Ton" is a vestige from the past. A properly-equipped "half ton" can carry over 3,000 lbs. A properly-equipped "one ton" can tow nearly half of what a tandem-axle semi can handle.

Maybe fiat can read this because they still think a F450 Super duty is a class 4 truck, over 14000GVW. It would be nice if they learned how to read specs vs a badge on the side of the truck.

Those data plates are nothing but government regulations for liability reasons. Much like water has an expiration date? Really...


My 2010 Tacoma 4x4 has a payload of 2,200 lbs. So by definition, it is a 1 ton.

I added stronger front coil springs at 200 lbs. over stock and 700 lbs. over stock Deaver leafs in the rear, a 9-pack of leafs with stronger u-bolts flipped, shackle adjustment and tubing of the rear axle to prevent axle flex with larger tires that fit well with the factory 4.10's in the rear 8.4 axle.

My 2016 Tacoma 4x4 has the factory rating of just 1,300 lbs. and it will remain as such.

This can be summed up very quickly and easily. Small compact trucks, carry briefcases only, 1/2 tons-grocery getters, 3/4 ton and up real trucks and should be used to actually tow and haul....

I say both 1/2 ton, 3/4 ton, and 1 ton just as much as I say 1500, 2500, and 3500. Either way people get what I'm talking bout unless they are clueless.

Does Fords rating include the radio, spare tire, front seat, rear bumper, front passenger seat, and center console? LMFAO!

Does Fords rating include the radio, spare tire, front seat, rear bumper, front passenger seat, and center console? LMFAO!

Obsolete, in my opinion. And that's a bad thing. They're supposed to fit within Federal Class I, II and III ratings and those tonnage indicators (1xxx, 2xxx and 3xxx) supposedly listed in which class they fit. Now? Sorry, but people today are buying far more truck than they should simply because the label implies a rating sometimes beyond the truck's capabilities (or vice-versa when it comes to half-tons.) And honestly, for such a wimply payload in those half-tons, do they really need to be so large?

Maybe fiat can read this because they still think a F450 Super duty is a class 4 truck, over 14000GVW. It would be nice if they learned how to read specs vs a badge on the side of the truck.

Thats funny cause Rams 3500 has more capability than Ford F4fitty.

Love the morons that are comparing 1500 H.D's to a 1500. Ram does not build a 1500 H.D. anymore. They have a 2500.

Love the morons that are comparing 1500 H.D's to a 1500. Ram does not build a 1500 H.D. anymore. They have a 2500.

I had a 3800 pound load of gravel in a 1978 F-100 (GVW 4200) as measured by the scale at the yard. Good thing I wasn't going far. The springs were bending backward.

Thats funny cause Rams 3500 has more capability than Ford F4fitty.


Posted by: HEMI V8 | Sep 27, 2016 11:10:08 AM

Yes you are right, a stripped down shorter wheel base than an F150 fiat dually has 10lb higher rating than Fords 4 door, long bed, wide front axle, 4x4 dually with 19.5" rims. I know what truck I would rather tow with and it is not a fiat.LMAO. this year fiat cannot even come close to the 2017 Super duty.

The amount on the trailer or in the back is only relevant when you step on the brakes--either you can make all that load come to a full stop--OR NOT.

Nobody on PUTC ever seems to mention this, but if you've ever overheated your brake fluid on a steep grade with a big payload, you'd appreciate my comment.

The amount on the trailer or in the back is only relevant when you step on the brakes--either you can make all that load come to a full stop--OR NOT.

Nobody on PUTC ever seems to mention this, but if you've ever overheated your brake fluid on a steep grade with a big payload, you'd appreciate my comment.


Posted by: papa jim | Sep 27, 2016 11:29:29 AM

Anything over 3500lbs must have trailer brakes. No road truck in the United States can safely stop at its GCVWR. A truck needs to be able to stop it's GVWR. Exhaust brakes really help with a diesel and grade shifting on gassers are great but a properly working trailer brake system is a must for towing. Common sense is needed for hauling and towing. Unfortunately it is what people seem to forget. if you ride your brakes down, good luck a day I hope you don't hit someone. Between a proper brake sequence and grade shifting I never had any issues down long grades in my 25K lb motorhome with hydraulic brakes.

A ton is the amount of cash gm is still sucking off governments to stay afloat.
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2016/09/gm-stands-gain-government-payout-unifor-contract-deal/

I like the designation. It keeps us aware of the rich tradition of our trucking heritage even in modern times. My 1978 C20 Chevy had a 7200 lb GVWR, my 1986 F-250 was 8600, and my 2005 Silverado 2500HD is 9200. All 3/4 ton, all tough, all American.

We just visited the Army Transportation Museum at Ft. Eustis, VA, and there are beautiful displays of mules and carts, 1/4 ton jeeps, 1 Ton Power Wagons, "Deuce and a half" personnel carriers, 5 ton Vietnam gun trucks, and Oshkosh 80 ton tractors.

Let's drive our trucks with pride knowing we live in a country that was built with trucks, and our freedom was won by trucks.

God bless America.

We just visited the Army Transportation Museum at Ft. Eustis, VA, and there are beautiful displays of mules and carts, 1/4 ton jeeps, 1 Ton Power Wagons, "Deuce and a half" personnel carriers, 5 ton Vietnam gun trucks, and Oshkosh 80 ton tractors.


Posted by: Greenrover | Sep 27, 2016 3:03:17 PM

Now that sound great. Might have to be a destination spot for us.

@LMAO, WHAT MAKE MODEL TRUCK DO YOU DRIVE??

GUTS

GLORY

I BOUGHT A RAM 3500

NEXT I WILL BE TRADING MY F150 IN FOR A 2019 RAM!

RAM WAS RIGHT!


@LMAO, WHAT MAKE MODEL TRUCK DO YOU DRIVE??

Posted by: HEMI V8 | Sep 27, 2016 4:45:20 PM

F150, F53, F350, F450 Superduty, F550 chassis cab, Ford Transit, E250, Silverado 2500, Chevy 3500 van, GMC 6500, GMC Savana, International Durastar 4300, Durastar 4400, Freightliner M106.

Forgot, Chevy Suburban 1500 and 2500's. However the 2500 Suburban is no longer available.

I say just keep the names half-ton, 3 quarter etc. or 1500/2500. It's a good constant for describing them. A single cab 2500 gas V8 has a much higher payload than a crew cab 2500 diesel, but look at the spec sheets and there's no way you can remember all the payload ratings for each variant from each manufacturer. It's just easier to refer to all of the trucks in that class as a 3/4 ton. I would suggest changing it to 3/4 ton, 1 ton, and 2 ton trucks, but that would cause a lot of confusion. Just keep it the same.

I was driving in Maine. I'm not sure if I hit a patch of ice or if the steering froze up. I was traveling 35 in a 40 MPH zone and on a curve, the vehicle veered off the road into a bog. The vehicle started to sink and I was unable to open the door for a few minutes. Then I noticed a flame coming from the back of the vehicle. It took all of my strength but I pushed the door open and began swimming away from the vehicle. As I was about 20 feet from the vehicle, it exploded. I was in the water and ice for approx. 10 minutes. The Fire Dept, Police, and EMT's arrived and pulled me from the water and took me to the hospital. I have 2nd degree burns on my arms and legs. My insurance company has deemed the vehicle a total loss and the adjuster said the only thing that could be salvaged was 1/2 of my license plate. I asked what could have caused this and the adjuster said that perhaps it was an electrical problem and water mixed with the electrical problem may have caused the fire. He did state that he did not know what caused the fire and explosion. The vehicle is sitting and I have asked that it not be destroyed (what's left of it) until the cause can be determined. This concerns me greatly because I do not want this to happen to anyone else. I believe if anyone else had been in the vehicle, they would not have had time to escape. There was no smoke - only fire and then the explosion. The shock is starting to wear off and I keep asking myself how in the world a car could "just explode".

In case you are wondering my vehicle was a 2015 FORD ESCAPE!

You and fiat fit each other. Pretenders.

Posted by: LMAO | Sep 27, 2016 7:02:24 PM

Alloone drives lots of trucks, but what does he buy? A year ago when he could have bought any truck, he chose RAM. He choose Ram 3500 over the Ford Super Dooty. Enough said.

I work for a Jeep/Ram/Dodge dealer. I love them. We get Ram truck for major repairs almost on a daily basis. Check engine lights, transmission shifting issues. poor performance, and massive interior defect repairs. Warranty does not pay much but the volume work keeps my family fed very well. Thank you Fiat for keeping the dealerships busy. I am pretty sure Jeep issues alone with pay for my children's college funds. 3 kids.

I am sorry. A year and a half ago or whatever, he bought a RAM
with the Cummins over the Super Dooty. So yes he buys Fiat.

Where do I start? My truck is a 2016 RAM 2500 6.7 Diesel. 4k miles on it. I've only had it 3 months and been to dealer twice each month since bought it. Windows had bubbles in them. Alignment issues - pulls to the right. Service manager said this is very common meant while my front tires are wearing out badly. Shimmy at steering wheel at hwy speeds. Service ABS system displays at every start. Told be service rep, basically not to expect much since most of these trucks i.e 2500 are all doing it that it will continue to have a pull on the alignment. Going in to dealer again tomorrow second time in one month for same issue on alignment.

2016 Ram 2500 Cummings Diesel Laramie, purchased 3.5 months ago brand new and has been in the shop for 11 days with front end noise and vibration issues that started at 4600 miles. The truck is still at the dealer with no answer how they will fix or when I will get it back. Very disappointed with Manufacture! I would not command purchasing any product from this manufacture.

Under 10,000 miles and truck began shutting down because of DEF injectors. Happened 6 times! Injectors replaced, now many miles later, my truck is in the shop and they are telling me, gonna cost $2,000.00 to fix DEF. This is overwhelming to say the least. Same problem. Never will I purchase a Dodge again.

Nice try zvier. Once again you are always wrong. I have schooled you on every thing fiat and I cannot stand fiat products. I would never own a fiat product. Years of proven history that they do not last as long as Ford or GM products. The only thing about fiat is they are cheap. But business's learn every day that there is a cost to fiats cheap price. They are junk. Thus why they rank poor in reliability reports. fiat, the pretender truck of the past 5 years. Nothing but junk. a fiat truck is lipstick on a dead pig.

Posted by: LMAO | Sep 27, 2016 7:27:53 PM

I agree 100% based on 1st hand experience over the last 15-18 years starting with my wife's Grand '01 Cherokee & friends with Dodges/Dakota's/RAM's & most recently my best buddie's SRT8 - transmission crapped out after 1200 miles. But the list of things that went wrong almost right after the day you buy it is too long to list here.
Unfortunately my company invested in Chrysler 300's as it suited the purpose otherwise next option is AUDI 6 or MERC's which are twice cost.
So yeah, they are cheap & ride nice when everything is working but then watch out!...it's like you buy it & then constantly waiting for that red light to come on for something...oh well, I suppose you get what you pay for..:-)

I was shcoked that A1 bought a Ram. But now for the rest of the story. He said he bought it because of his old employer, Cummins and because his wife liked the interior. How did he like the truck itself? He mentioned he has buyer's remorse and would like to trade it in on a new Ford as soon as possible. Another unhappy Fiat customer. Now you have the rest of the story!

My 2016 F-150 has a 7050 GVWR
It weighs 4850 empty

By Ford standards I can haul 2200 lbs
Here Pennsylvania I have a "Class 2" weight class that is 7000 lbs GVWR, I pay much extra for the Class 2 Registration where by state law I can legally haul 2150 lbs.
When I haul coal I get a legal weight slip with the weight of the truck with the load of coal cannot exceed 7000 lbs and if the police pull me over I must show him and produce that weight slip and IF I am over weight I will get a fine.
But! If I haul 4 tons of coal on a trailer with nothing in the bed then i'm legal.
( the local police do hang out near the local coal yards ready to pull you over for over weight and they also inspect your truck for lights and bald tires and can fine you for that too)



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