Chevrolet Challenges Ford to a Heavy-Duty Towing Showdown!


Chevrolet says power claims on paper aren’t everything. And to prove it, GM’s bow tie brand has issued a challenge to Ford to a high-altitude, heavy-duty towing and brake test in the Colorado Rockies.

Ford currently has the most powerful diesel engine available in the HD segment. The 6.7-liter Power Stroke V-8 was recently boosted to an incredible 400 horsepower and 800 pounds-feet of torque, taking the title away from GM’s 6.6-liter Duramax V-8, which is rated at 397 hp and 765 pounds-feet.

But Chevy still says the Duramax will outperform the Power Stroke in an apples-to-apples towing comparison.

"Numbers on paper are fine. Let's go work these trucks in the mountains, and may the best truck win," Chevrolet Silverado Marketing Manager Tony Truelove said.

Truelove and Rick Spina, vehicle line executive for GM full-size trucks, want identically configured trucks to tackle a multiple-mile ascent in the Rocky Mountains to find out which truck will finish the lengthy climb first pulling a heavy trailer. Then, they want to turn around and measure which truck has the superior exhaust brake by measuring the amount of foot brake application required by the driver to slow the truck down.

An exhaust brake saves on brake and transmission wear by creating back pressure to engine brake the truck. It also reduces the potential for brake fade during long descents, increasing both downhill safety while towing as well as overall wheel brake life.

But Ford is declining this challenge.

"We challenge our trucks against the competition in grueling prove-out tests continually, and the customer gives us the results -- sales leadership year after year," Ford Trucks spokeswoman Anne Marie Gattari said.

Chevrolet is moving forward with a Chevrolet Silverado HD vs. Ford Super Duty showdown and has asked to oversee the comparison along with the guys from Diesel Power Magazine. The Chevy truck team intends to obtain the Super Duty trucks from a third party, and we’ll be there as an impartial judge to verify the configurations and measure truck performance up and down the grades.

"We encourage independent testing of our vehicles as it helps truck customers learn more about each manufacturer's products," said Spina. "It also helps us understand how our trucks stack up and get a full perspective on the truck landscape —to learn who's doing what and why they're doing it. We see competition as making us stronger!"

The final details are still coming together. Stay tuned in the coming weeks for more news about this challenge.


@ Mike Levine, I will volunteer to drive the Ford :) As someone who tows alot with my 6.4 and I have lived in the area.

Getting them as close in everyway is the only to do this.

My predictions are that the ford will be slower, it is not made for speed, rather it is made to tow and tow heavy.

Which is the better platform for towing is the most important factor but is extremely hard to rate.

A thought, I believe GM hinted about doing this challenge short time ago. Don't you think GM new the answer Ford would give BEFORE even asking? Just maybe GM new they would be safe because Ford or Dodge would never accept.

Just curious why Ford will not accept this challenge unless they do not really believe in their own truck. The publicity of this challenge if it would happen would be the best exposure for their product then any advertisement they could run. This just shows their truck is just as gutless as Ford Motor Company. They do not have the guts to back their own product, how pathetic is that. They definitely have the worst looking truck with that new front grill on their HDs.

Common sense tells you why Ford sells more trucks then anyone else. Because their trucks do not last as long as their competition.

It sounds like Chevy has found a weak point in the Ford and has proposed a comparison to exploit that. It will be interesting data but will it affect my next purchase? NO! I have only been to 5,000 feet altitude once in my life and then the roads were so crooked that I had plenty of power from my gas burner. I suspect that fewer than 10% of truck owners will ever pull a heavy load over the Rockies on an interstate. Even for those that do that will probably be less than 10% of their use. For the rest of us a different test would give more meaningful results.

Every brand is going to try to stack the deck in their favor in any kind of comparison like this. Why don't you go to Ford and Dodge and ask them what type of test they would like to see and then see if you can get all three brands to participate in all three tests? That would show the strengths and weaknesses of each and we can chose the one that best matches our needs.


Just so we're clear, you think the reason Ford sells so many trucks is because they don't last as long as GMs or Dodges? So people just keep buying inferior products. and have done so for 30 years. Dude, you seriously need to take a basic economics class.

I love how these chevy girls think we make the decision as to them saying yes or no to the challenge. I think tgey should do it, but if chevy is holding thee competition they are clearly going to give the advantage to themselves. I personally want to see it.

@mike can you get a 350 & 3500 and just do the thing yourself? Just wondering lol

OMG a Duramax just passed me going up the Rockies. Oh no a Duramax just beat me off the line. Yep I am crying...going to go in a corner and shed some tears. I must be one big cry baby because I joined the majority of heavy duty truck buyers and bought a Ford with a Powerstroke. Yea I went there - I brought sales back into the picture. I know I know - sales mean nothing and its all about what truck has the most HP/TQ or climbs a mountain faster. I know what is coming next....Ford trucks are cheaper and have more incentives so people buy them. Blah blah blah. Yes the Duramax can beat the Powerstroke off the line. Yes the Duramax can climb hills faster. Yes GM knows this. Ford has seen the tests and it seems, based on declining yet another test, they don't care. So keep bragging, but at the end of the day the majority of trucks used in the industry are made by Ford and do the job just fine.

Greg, how is 400 HP/800 lb-ft gutless? What are you driving? Or smoking.

I dont care how fast these trucks get up the hill, that does not prove anything when it comes to reliability. I want to see similar trucks from the big three put through a test where they are set up with calibrated none factory sensors in the coolant, engine oil, transmission fluid, and exhaust gas temps pre-turbo and then put them side by side on a high altitude pass that means business. It would also be nice to be able to record what gear the truck is in plus maybe even include intake temp and brake temp at the rotor. Again I dont care how fast the truck gets up the hill but rather I want to see where all these trucks run as far as oil, coolant, trans, and exhaust temps when under load. Also None of these sensors should be installed by the factory, a third party company should be tasked with this job and should net be biased to any of the brands. This is the sort of testing I want to see, NOT a race to the top test cause that just proves who gets to the top first NOT who gets to the top and back down...and is able to do it 20,000 more times before breaking down. Getting to see the temps at which these trucks run their fluids is a way to tell how well the cooling system is engineered and also how hard the engine is actually working along with the transmission. Some test like this would be more beneficial cause then you could compare side-by-side the information gathered by all these sensors. And while the GM beat the Ford in the last comparo who knows how hot the GM was running the oil, trans, or egt...those factory gauges never tell the truth and if you are cooking the oil it wont do you any good in the reliability department.
Maybe if some test like this could be done it would shut up all the GM fan boys who only care about how fast there beloved truck can go up a Mtn...We all know that is not what makes a truck worth bragging about, reliability and having more miles than the other guys truck is actually what matters.

@Synrgy...Who care about all the temp stuff. You must be insane to think that each of the 3 manufacturers would produce something that can't operate in the most extreme conditions.....

People are going to point out some of the old Duramax's overheating problems...Some are going to point out Fords Radiator problems...But in the end, these trucks will never operate the same becasue they are made by 3 different people.

Jet engines are the same way. Some run hotter than others, but do you think that really makes a difference in longevity?
I am no engineer, but I know that GM, Ford and Dodge know a lot more about metal fatigue and operating stresses than any backyard mechanic. The point is...each engine has its own operating "comforts". GM may run hotter than Ford..Dodge may run cooler than Ford...but who cares! If its within the operating range of the brands limits, keep trucking.

@ Mike. So you're making such a big deal about identical trucks as to find Identical ratios, identical tire size, identical cab configuration, identical payload (3500 vs 3500)....Then you say oh who cares if they weigh 500 pounds less?

That sure doesn't follow your logic

And while you're at it since you'll have all the testing equipment there why don't you take the half tons along, or will GM not allow that because they too already know the outcome?

@Top Dog
I know that everybodies definition of a "truck shoot out" is different but I would rather see which truck is running closer to its breaking point than compared to which one goes faster up a hill. I also did not point out at any time that any of these trucks cant handle extreme conditions. And by the way I know alot about Jet Engines, I was a F-16 Crew Cheif and worked on PW-220 engines(PW=Pratt and Whitney). You can not compare a jet engine to a engine in one of these trucks. The ammount of money put into the engineering of a jet engine is far greater than any one of these engines in the HD truck line up.

@Matt: Because the the trucks are being tested as they come off the line. Why should one truck be penalized over another if that's how they're built? That doesn't seem fair to either truck.

I guess that makes sense. Although would be interesting to see the results.

What really intrigues me is that as near as I could tell in your previous shootout the Ford was rapidly gaining on the GM in the quarter mile hence the as high or higher Trap Speeds.

Although this time around try not to make so many excuses for GM if they don't do as well. Maybe I'm a sore loser but it sure seemed like last time the Ford won you guys fell all over yourselves making excuses for the other to with "yeah buts" and "well maybe". Inversely when the GM or Ram wont you spent a lot of time reaffirming it.

Regardless thanks for keeping us up to date and giving us reasons to do useless things like argue over the internet. ;)

@Synrgy..Thanks for your service. I am still in the AF and am an "Aerospace Propulsion Craftsman"(fancy). I wouldn't say that, from an enineering standpoint, a jet engine is more advanced in design than a Diesel...just different.

The PW-220 runs hotter than, lets say, a TF34. Does that mean it will not last as long? No. What it does prove is they are two completely different engines with totally different operating characteristics. Bottom line, Diesels, like a jet engine, deliver usable power for the customer, and how they go about it is unique to each manufacturer. This is my point.

I wish some of y'all would make up your minds. I'm either biased towards GM or biased towards Ford. Which is it?

Bottom line is that I'm biased towards seeing us get the best trucks we can drive regardless of who the manufacturer is. If Kia made the best truck for a particular purpose, I'd say so.

The GM psychos, I mean fanbois have logged in. Bobby, Rob, Bob whatever your chosen name for today...
GM issued a challenge when they already know the end result.

That is cowardice at its finest.

That is grandstanding at its finest.

I don't care who wins or looses.

I already know that the Ford diesel lost the HD shootout due to a traction control system needing fine tuning and a chassis that needs upgrading.
I already know from the Rocky Mountain comparison that the Ford diesel was slower. It needs to be fine tuned for high altitude.

The main reasons I'd like to see this shootout is:
1. Mike Levine and his colleagues are the best in the business.
2. I'm curious as to how nearly identical trucks will fare under big loads (16,000 lb)

This is a direct quote from one of my posts earlier in this thread
"have you ever read the PR on a Chev site? Go look at their comparison tool if you want to comment on brand specific coolaid.
I agree with you that GM's target was Ford and I'd say the engineers at GM did a masterful job on the new Duramax. The chassis was very well developed and it showed in the shootout.
I wish that GM management was as competent as GM HD engineers."

I will give credit where it is due.

I have 2 huge problems with GM corp.
1. the biggest auto company in the world was unable to survive on its own.
2. Fanatical psychos like you. GM has more than its far share of them.

Each time you post you make GM corp. look bad.

Keep it up. It is free PR for Ford and Dodge.

@Mike Levine...Don't you wish it could be a simple "run what you brung" fight. Don't know about you, but if I am feeling like a race, I don't go to the track trying to find a truck/car that is set up exactly like mine. I just line up, hammer the little peddle, and whatever happens, happens.

For you though, it must be tough because the only way to make a sensible article for others to read requires the complete opposite....

I would like to see a report on how well each and every one of these trucks can maintain highway speeds while towing! Are you going 65 in a 75 on a slight hill, or having to hit the brakes every 5 seconds on a slight downhill...

But alas, a power pull to the top of a mountain will always give the guy who wins some bragging rights......

@ Top Dog

Im picking up what your putting down...but I guess what I am saying is that I think people would rather see how well the trucks handle real world towing stress's by seeing the cold hard numbers. I know you know about Fords coolant temp gauges that never or even the oil pressure guage that never moves no matter what engine rpm you are at...I guess the only time they move is when its either dangerously low or high. I think these trucks are so close that we need to see even more detail than just who gets up the hill first. MPG's seem to matter even more now and being able to see the total efficiency of the drive train can help determine who is running more efficient. But in all reality it comes down to personnal prefference right? I know for a fact that even though the GM won I will never buy it. If I had a reason to own an HD truck I would probobly buy the Ram or Ford cause I like the styling and I know that they provide enough power for my liking and If I want to race up and down a mountain I will either buy a Sports car or ride my Ducati.

And Thanks for your continued Service Top Dog.

@ Mike - maybe your a Toyota guy trying to make the domestics look bad ;)
I'm kidding. ( I'l get flamed bigtime for that comment. LOL)
Keep up the good work.
Must be hard trying to keep the whining from getting to you!

FORD DECLINED!! Must be scared. I read an article explaining why ford "seems" to be the sales leader. Apparently ford includes their whole lineup including the F450 on up whereas chevy only includes up to their 3500 sieries. It also mentioned chevy would be the leader if they didn't exclude their heavier duty trucks. Just some food for thought.

@ synrgy - good point. What model Ducati do you have?
I miss not having a sport bike.

Well IF Ford is doing the WRONG THINGS and GM is so much better then Ford should just keep doing what they're doing as it's certainly doing better finacially than GM. That's all that matters. This out today 10/1

@ Lou - I have a '08 Monster 695. Its The first Ducati I have ever owned and so far its been great.

the chevys better no matter what even if i wasent to win its still better on gas id much rather do that than get like 5 mpg

Mr. Levine,

For this performance test I would recommend consulting each of the manufacturer's powertrain design group on what they recommend in for ratios on final drives of the vehicles. After all, each manufacture is wanting to present the best design for the capabilities in the challenge. There have been a few comments about the significance of weight differences between the vehicles and wanting to add weight to make them equal. Why would one want to consider doing that? How many people are going to add this weight to a GM product in the real world so it equals the Ford product? In my opinion this difference could be a design superiorty feature because it allows a lighter weight vehicle to perform with nearly equal towing capabilites of the heavier one.
Even though the weight difference is pretty insignificant.

You have a good info based website. I would like to see a little more reliability information on these vehicles from the manufacturers. If I going to spend $60k on a vehicle for towing how long is it going to last. This data is available if the manufacturers want to share it. If they don't, a durability/reliabilty test could be developed to test the life and failure modes of the powertrain. I work with this in the fluid power industry and it can get real interesting.

Why wasn't an F350 used in the test. Something sounds fishy.

To me it looks like I would choose the truck with the best company behind them.

The GM and Ford trucks in this class are very close in capabilities. So close in fact the only real way to determine the best truck is by long term test. May the truck driven 60,000 miles a year over 10 years with the least cost win.

I owned many GM Trucks (I was a GM man from a GM family) but I haven’t owned a GM product since 1996. There’s a reason for that. All the GM trucks I had before that were gassers with 3/36 warrantees. I had to replace too many transmissions @ 40,000 miles. After that I owned the GM 6.5TD, great transmission but the rest of the truck was junk, mostly the engine and front suspension that GM wouldn’t warrantee.

I switched to Fords in 2001 and I don’t have to fix the dang things. My 01 F250 7.3 CC LB 4x4 has 325,xxx mostly trouble free miles. My 05 6.0 Reg cab has 144,xxx miles and has never been inside a service bay. My 06 6.0 CC LB 4x4126,xxx miles has had a few minor issues all covered under warranty.

If GM would have fixed my 6.5TD under warranty instead of making me pay to have it fixed I might still be driving GM products. I would have to chose the Ford for reliability reason alone but I know from my experience the Ford cost less to operate.

@ Jason - what's with the Ford counts everything BS.
That was proven false quite a while ago.
Ford counts up to F450,
Ram counts trucks up to 4500.
GMC -they don't have anything bigger than 3500. GM doesn't have a heavy duty truck.
Why would Ford agree to compete in a test that they already lost?
Your starting to sound like the Howie Long.

@synrgy - cool ride.
Funny how guys go on about 0.1 seconds here or 3 seconds there.
It's not a large amount of time unless your running a sport bike or supercar, then those times become huge differences in distance.

@Lou. I agree with the .01 to 3 seconds comment. It is really not that significant, unless the customer thinks it is. I guarantee that at least 1 person has already used those numbers to make their final decision. Besides...this is what makes the big 3 compete with each other! Otherwise, we would still have 143 hp 350 V8's around! Man, how weak were those days?

@ Top dog - agreed.
The '70's were the dark ages for the automotive industry.
I have no problem with the test.
Competition is good for the consumer.
I'd throw in a gravel road loop just to make it more interesting and challenging.

@ryan. well, ford does outsell chevy, probably because us chevy fans don't need to buy a new truck every 5 years.

No fair test, GM is paying to be impressed
besides that, who cares, it wouldn't change anything, i pity that 14 year old GM CEO thats trying to challange Ford with games,
and why choose Denver? thats another good question, lol, grow up guys,

@Ty: GM isn't paying a dollar to us. They asked us to watch the test and make sure it's apples to apples. Just like like any other trip we make, we pay our own way and expenses.

I had a 2003 f350 8cyl.5.4 triton gas engine..crewcab truck...At 69,000 miles it was junk.I changed all fluid levels at their proper scedules...never abused the truck..pulled a enclosed lawn trailer every day..approx.5,000.pounds...I was fine untill it started ejecting spark plugs ..despite class action law suits and a investigation by the D.O.T the company refused to cover the vehicle that was 9000.miles over the warranty period..They refused knowing of the problem,untill I provided copies of thousands of complaints on the consumer affairs web site...and legal docs...back then it was a base model 30,000.dollar truck...while they eventually scrapped the triton engine,I will never trust them again..If I had a fleet of atleast a dozen trucks they would have helped??????what a joke....Ford and its stock holders can kiss my a.......I would buy a chevy anyday....I still cant beleive they swept that problem under the would have been the largest ever vehicle recall.cant amagine dropping 60,000. dollars with a company like that...good luck ford lovers..just wait untill there is a problem.....History has a way of repeating as a consumer mean nothing..its all about the stockholders....

@Mike Levine so how will you make sure it's a fair test?
if you would supply the trucks, and make sure they are Exactly the same, Rear End, Tires, Gross Vehicle Weight, and the test shouldn't be at an high altitude area, or at least should be tested at lower elevation as well to see what the difference is,

@ty: I told GM that we'd have to pick up both trucks from a Ford and Chevy dealer and hold the keys until the test took place. They'd be as equivalent as they can be down to their odometer mileage.

@Gigle Nips, what gets 5mpg? I've driven the new diesels and 20mpg is achievable by both Chevy and Ford. Dodge is a few mpgs behind.

Chevy trucks have poor build quality. Who cares how fast they are at something? They're lightweight and flimsy.. Of course they'd be quick. What good does that do you when you're loading up your bed or working on the farm? I'll take the sturdy built truck anyday. It will last longer and is just plain more durable than the chintzy sheet metal plastic bumper crap GM slaps together. Not to mention, the Frame issue. Chevy and GMC frames ground clearance is abysmal. Those things are slung down so low you might get 8 or 10 inches of clearance befor it bottoms out. How exactly does that help me out in my fields?? It Doesn't.

I'll stick with a good frame height and a strong built body. Plus I have a real front axle. GM's are still stuck on those stupid torsion bar set ups for city slickers. Chevy use to build a darn good truck in the 60's and 70's. Now they're a joke that no real trucking man takes seriously.

The winner is the truck after 200,000 miles stays strong and keep it's integrity.

Ford win but Chevy's are real good trucks too. Honda Ridgeline ah a pile of steel junk.

whats ford scared of? thee ol general def has superior product. im in scottsdale az everyday and i see 1 lincoln navigator to every 20 escalades.....!? huh whys that? and lets not forget the corvette, see 10 of those to every 1 (Roush, Saleen, whoever mustang cuz ford cant do it solo) and in the sand dune world why are 98% of v8 powered longtravel cars LS motors?

Colt, it's probably because there are more Mexicans in AZ. I personally think the Navigator is much nicer inside than the Escalade, but the whole pimp thing is just so 90s. Maybe give me a Range Rover instead.

@ Alex My point (post from several days ago) is that Ford didn't go from the 7.3 to the 6.0 because the 7.3 couldn't make more power. I read in a diesel power mag of a 7.3 making 1000hp. The duramax is also capable of insane power levels as well as the Cummins. The engines blocks held up. The rubber band analogy seems to have the Ford boys thinking that the duramax is ready to split in half. That isn't true. I'm sure you know that but I gut sick of reading peoples dumb comments on this subject. It comes down to emisions. Quite often older engines are phased out for that reason. The old 4.0l Jeep engine is a good example as well. It was a good engine. But emisions wise, power wise, milege wise there wasn't much that could be done to improve it without a major overhaul.

Jordan, I think I remember when the 6.0 came out that emissions was the reason, but who knows. I know that's when the first generation Bosh Common Rail injection technology was starting to get big and maybe Navistar and Ford thought they didn't need 7.3L to get that much power anymore. They would have been right, and I also don't think cylinder capacity is directly proportionate to the structural integrity of the engine either. So it's not the fact that the 6.0 displaced 6 liters that made it unreliable. But the 6.0 was obviously insufficiently tested. In any case, the 7.3 should be compared to the 6.5 rather than the Duramax.

@mike please test them like they said before, la to ny. with and with out a 20k trailer. also in off road, low/high altitude. but the la to ny would be the best. we all know how ford trucks are good but they have so many problems. I am not a gm of ford guy. but I own 2 gm trucks. I would buy a ford if they come with a better engine then the DURAMAX.

I have seen the advertising that GM has release about the 2500 HD new frame with no compromises. Apparently they compromise big time with the 2007-2010 frames because they are not fully boxed. GM know that inorder to compete with the Ford SuperDuty, the only option they have is to fully box the frame of there 2500 and 3500. The only part of a SuperDuty frame that is boxed is the front section. Everybody keep missing this critical point, the SuperDuty doesn't share any parts with the F150, which allows Ford complete freedom of engineering a true 3/4 ton and 1 ton truck not a beef-up 1/2 ton truck. This is why a Ford SuperDuty is a bigger, broader, and heavier truck. The fact that GM has fully BOXED the frame of there HD trucks, signifies that they have reached the limit of the t900 frame.
The SuperDuty and its tought frame is favorite among commercial buyers.

@Ticmo, that goes for the rest of the truck too. The GM's are just tarted up half tons with a little more beef added to the front ends now. You still get the same el-cheapo body panels which are like tin foil now.. You still get the same el-cheapo interiors which are crap. You still have to deal with IFS instead of a rugged SFA... You still have to deal with that low sagging frame. It's assinine to think Ram or Chevy could ever compete against the Super Duty. The Super Duty is a Dedicated truck platform and truck itself. Ford doesn't just beef up the F-150 and say 'Here ya Go'.. There's a good reason the Super Duty owns the market. It actually is a 'Super Duty' truck in every sense of the word. Why settle for a cheap imitation??

@ Ron "It's assinine to think Ram or Chevy could ever compete against the Super Duty." Come on guy, get a dam grip. Spoken like a true fanboy. The Ram HDs have a dedicated platform. Want to know why Ford has such good success in the Hd segment? C-channel frame. Its not that its tough (don't know how tough it is in comparo to GM or Ram, don't care either). GM, untill recently, had pathetic towing and payload ratings. Not a good choice for comercail buyers. Dodge has good payload and towing but with a fully boxed frame its much more difficult for upfitters to attach decks and tool boxes and the like. Ram now has CC 35-5500s with a c-channel and I'm seeing lots of them lately. Just thought you should know.

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