By Brian Wong
As part of the testing for our 2017 Monster Factory Off-Road Challenge, we put each of our six contenders on a mobile chassis dynamometer from a Tuscon-area dyno shop to record our test pickup trucks' peak horsepower and torque figures.
Impressively, both the 2017 Ford F-150 Raptor and 2017 Nissan Titan Pro-4X half ton experienced the least amount of parasitic loss when calculating rear-wheel torque, losing only 2 and 4 percent, respectively, when compared to their factory numbers. And maybe even more impressive, the 2016 Toyota Tundra TRD Pro rear-wheel torque beat its factory rating of 401 pounds-feet, testing at 409. Regular PickupTrucks.com readers might remember this to be a very different dyno number than we had before with a similar pickup in our 2016 Texas Truck Showdown: Max Towing Challenge. In that contest, the dyno results for the V-8 Tundra TRD Pro were 289 horsepower and 295 pounds-feet of torque. As a partial note of explanation, for each of our Challenges, all the tests were conducted with the same equipment at the same time with the same experts at the controls for each truck.
Where the Raptor, with its twin-turbo V-6 EcoBoost engine performed the best, the truck that struggled the most was the 2017 Nissan Titan XD Pro-4X, with its turbo-diesel V-8 Cummins engine. It tested at a 31 percent loss when compared to factory horsepower numbers and experienced a 24 percent loss when comparing to its factory torque numbers.
The truck that seemed to give the controller from Turn4 Automotive the most problems was the half-ton Titan; he experimented in several gears before finding an accurate reading. But once we did get the Titan's numbers, it performed quite well. According to our readings, the smaller gas V-8s from the Tundra and Titan outperformed the larger V-8 Hemi in the 2017 Ram 2500 Power Wagon.
How We Conducted the Testing
We like to put all the pickups on the same dyno under the same conditions with the same tester to see how their engines compare to each other and against their factory power ratings. To do this, we enlisted the help of Turn4 Automotive, which uses a mobile dyno setup where the massive rear-wheel dyno is housed on a heavy-duty trailer frame instead of being mounted permanently in the ground at a shop.
We should note there was a fairly wide variance in the transmissions, axle ratios and tire sizes for each truck, so our controller had to do some experimenting to find the right gear and methods to get the best numbers. For example, the Raptor, with its segment-exclusive 10-speed transmission, did its runs in 6th gear while the Titan half ton and the Power Wagon, with seven-speed and six-speed transmissions respectively, were both tested in 3rd gear. We also should note each truck had its tires filled to factory specification before the test, and we put the same person behind the wheel for each test run while instructed by our Turn4 dyno expert.
Cars.com photos by Evan Sears