Rocky Mountain Power Test: GMC Sierra Denali 3500HD and Ford F-450 King Ranch

Rocky Mountain Power Test: 2011 GMC Sierra Denali 3500HD and 2011 Ford F-450 King Ranch

In an exclusive comparison, PickupTrucks.com took a 2011 Ford F-450 King Ranch Super Duty and 2011 GMC Sierra Denali 3500HD and pushed them to their limits on the twisting high altitude roads of the Colorado Rockies. We also tested them head-to-head on a dyno to measure their real-world power ratings a mile above sea level.

First, some background about two of the most luxurious and capable pickups you can buy.

Separate comprehensive road tests are coming for each of these rigs, but for this first test, we visited the folks at ATS Diesel in Denver.

ATS invents, designs, manufactures and distributes diesel truck performance products worldwide for Cummins, Duramax and Power Stroke owners. They also have a one-stop full-service shop for repairs and upgrades.

We put the F-450 and Sierra 3500 on a chassis dynamometer at ATS to measure their power output at the rear wheels.

Denali-dyno-560

Like the Ford F-350 we dynoed recently at Gale Banks Engineering, the F-450 was running with Ford’s updated “Job 2” engine and transmission control software and calibrations. It boosts the 6.7-liter Power Stroke V-8’s power rating to 400 horsepower (@2,800 rpm) and 800 pounds-feet of torque (@1,600 rpm) – an increase of 10 hp and 65 pounds-feet over the initial "Job 1" version of the engine (announced in February) that made 390 hp (at 2,800 rpm) and 735 pounds-feet of torque (at 1,600 rpm). The Sierra Denali’s 6.6-liter Duramax V-8 is rated at 397 hp (at 3,000 rpm) and 765 pounds-feet of torque (at 1,600 rpm).

Before someone points it out, the F-450 and Sierra 3500 are technically not the same class of truck. The F-450 is considered a one-and-a-half-ton while the 3500 is a one-ton. But for 2011, they’re closer to each other than ever before because of recent mechanical changes to the F-450. Ford made major revisions to lighten the 2011 F-450’s frame and running gear by 600 pounds for improved fuel economy and a higher top speed, including using more chassis components from the F-350 and reducing wheel and tire size from 19 inches to 17 inches.

The F-450 is only available with a 4.30 rear axle, while the Sierra Denali 3500 has a 3.73 rear axle. To compensate for this major difference, we ran the F-450 in 5th gear and the Sierra in 4th on the dyno because when you multiply the driveline ratios (transmission gear ratio times rear axle ratio) for both trucks in those gears, they are incredibly close to each other. The F-450 is 3.70 (0.86 times 4.30) and the Sierra is 3.73 (1.00 times 3.73).

Rear axles are rated with a number to describe how many rotations the driveshaft must make to turn the rear wheels. For example, the F-450’s rear axle turns once every 4.30 driveshaft rotations. Generally, the higher the ratio, the faster the driveshaft turns, and the sooner the driveshaft can transfer peak horsepower and torque from the engine to the rear wheels. The result, generally, is faster acceleration and higher towing capacity than a rear axle with a lower ratio. The drawback is lower fuel economy and top speed.

Ats-diesel-dyno
We were able to measure power output in the Ford about 600 rpm sooner than in the Denali because of its manually locked-up torque converter.

Tire size between both trucks was almost identical, so this didn’t play a significant role by acting as a kind of third reduction gear, because tire height can also affect how quickly power is transferred to the road. Generally, the taller the tire, the more effort needed to reach peak horsepower and torque.

The dyno results were surprising.

Using a new manual-shift mode that’s unique to Ford’s all-new 6R140 six-speed automatic transmission, we could select and hold fifth gear down to 1,400 rpm with the torque converter locked up, acting like a virtual manual transmission.

The Denali’s six-speed automatic Allison transmission only runs in full automatic shift mode – though you can lock out the top gears to firmly control the gearbox’s range – with the torque converter automatically disengaging at around 1,950 rpm. A torque converter is used to transmit engine power to the truck’s automatic transmission. At high engine speeds, it’s locked for the best fuel economy. At low engine speeds, it’s unlocked to help the driveline manage engine power and to prevent the truck from stalling at a full stop.

You’ll see the difference between the two trucks in the dyno chart because we could reliably measure power output in the Ford about 600 rpm sooner than in the Denali because of its early locked-up torque converter.

For torque, the Denali came out on top, but just barely. It was rated at 700 pounds-feet versus 697 pounds-feet in the King Ranch. But the Super Duty’s Power Stroke had a much broader and flatter peak torque curve than the GMC’s Duramax, with near-peak torque starting around 1,800 rpm and stretching to about 2,800 rpm. Altitude seemed to play a role, since Denver is about 5,500 feet above sea level. It pushed the peak numbers up the rpm range versus their sea-level-rated measurements. The Duramax was especially high up in the revs, with peak torque at 2,380 rpm instead of 1,600 rpm.

Super-duty-rv-560

For horsepower, the Power Stroke beat the Duramax, 365 hp (at 2,800 rpm) to 348 hp (at 2,870 rpm). In contrast to torque, peak horsepower presented itself in both trucks at rpms close to where the truck-makers’ maximum claimed numbers are.

Again, on the chassis dyno, both measurements were made at the rear wheels instead of at the crankshaft. A 15 to 20 percent power loss from the crank to the rear wheels due to friction and rotational parasitic forces is a fair number to use, gauging the relative difference between claimed and dynoed numbers.

We noticed a slight dip in the Power Stroke’s ratings across the wide rpm range. We’re not sure why. It could be from the exhaust gas recirculation system, which helps reduce nitrogen oxide emissions by cooling combustion temperatures.

But dyno results can only tell us so much. So we took both trucks and hooked them up to a Dutchmen Colorado fifth wheel travel trailer that weighed about 10,700 pounds and tested them at high altitude on Interstate 70.

We drove both trucks on the infamous 7 percent eastbound hill climb that leads up to the Eisenhower Tunnel at about 11,000 feet above sea level in the Rocky Mountains. It’s a steady grade that’s about seven miles long. It starts at around 8,500 feet elevation. At these altitudes, an engine has noticeably less oxygen to work with than at sea level, so it must work harder to do the same amount of work. Engines can compensate to a certain degree by using different performance calibrations that change combustion and fueling strategies. But with a lack of oxygen, heavy load and steep ascent, you can run a truck at wide open throttle, and it will still gradually lose speed until engine performance and atmospheric challenges find a balance point.

Denali-tow-560

Starting at wide open throttle running the trucks up the grade from Dillon, Colo., to the tunnel entrance, we measured the Sierra Denali 3500HD at an average speed of 66 mph and the Ford F-450 at an average speed of 51.87 mph.

The Sierra Denali had a curb weight of 8,100 pounds. The F-450’s curb weight was 8,760 pounds – 210 pounds more than an F-350 we tested during the HD Shootout.

The Sierra Denali 3500HD's performance advantage over the Super Duty is about as stark as the difference we saw in the power curves on the dyno. We believe it’s because the Sierra Denali’s calibrations at altitude are dialed in almost perfectly to match engine output. However, it seems that Ford still has plenty of room in the future to tune the 6.7 to tap its full potential at high elevations.

The rear axle ratios also played a role, but it wasn’t many years ago that a 3.73 rear axle on the Eisenhower grade would have been considered a major handicap versus having a 4.30 back end. It seems that the recent power levels both engines have attained are helping to make up for mechanical workarounds in the driveline.

We’ll have more details about these two trucks in each of their upcoming road test stories.

Two-trucks-560

Special thanks to Kent Sundling, MrTruck.com, Dutchmen Travel Trailers, Cimarron Horse Trailers, Popup Hitch and the fine folks at Transwest Truck Trailer RV for all of their help and support with this test.

Comments

You can throw out the dyno test ... What you got from running the ford in 5th gear was an inflated tq number do to the extra load from being in 5th gear ... They should have run them both in the 1:1 gear this is the only way to compare power curves... i.e. 4th . The gear ratio is not going to change the load like the trans gear will . Not even close

Also a dyno jet is an inaccurate way to measure anything over the 3000-4000 lb roller weight . What is the curb weight of these trucks ?... think about this ... 15-20 % drivetrain loss is the same as a corvette ? Not possible the rear end it self is almost equal to the drive train loss in a corvette. Drive train loss is related to the weight of the rotating parts in the drivetrain . Have you ever picked up the input shaft from an alison trans ? weights more the the corvette's whole transmission ! ... drivetrain loss with an alison trans and a 14bolt is 27-29 % FYI , I have measured this on an engine dyno and in the truck ... Do your self a favor and don't include Dyno Jet test's in your excellent reviews . Find a Mustang dyno ,Land and sea , or a real load eddy current machine ...

Thanks for the great testing ...

Mike - Thanks for another great test! I enjoy reading reviews on pickuptrucks.com more than about any other place, because you're dealing with a lot of real-world scenarios. Thanks for making it "real" to your readers.

"With both trucks traveling up I-70 single file, there were times when I was driving the F-450 with the 10,700 pound RV in the second position that I couldn't keep up with the Denali pulling an extra 3,000 pounds, even with my foot full in the throttle."

Well that's because you were going single file and in order to do so one would have to leave first. He already left before you and had his foot in it. After you waited for him to leave, then you left. Duh. If you are going 50mph you're supposed to be 5 car lengths apart for safety. One car length for every 10 mph of speed, probably more if you have a 10k trailer. I'm sorry but this part was useless to me.

haha Ford trucks always look good on paper, but when it comes to the real world they get whooped...

I thought this refreshed engine was supposed to kill the Duramax? What happened Ford boys?

Duramax is king of the diesels...

Guys I don't care which truck came out ahead I was only making an observation... I think you Fanboys all take crap way to personal sometimes. I would like to know who the heck is going to be drag racing up a hill pulling 10,000+ pounds?

Bottom line is just buy whatever you want be it a Ram, Ford, or GM and I'm sure it will give you all years of faithful service.

typical Ford... All hype, no balls.

The new powerstroke couldn't beat the Duramax the first time and now it can even beat it with its refresh...

I want to see these trucks loaded,racing down the hill and then see which truck can handle/outstop each other without going off the cliff !!!

Speed limit when towing in California is 55 mph. Not sure why anyone would want to go much faster than this anyway with a big trailer.

From your tow test of the F-250...

"The turbo itself is indisputably state of the art, with a double-sided compressor wheel that allows for quicker throttle response and very good compression at higher rpm. Throttle response is direct and linear, with no appreciable lag, steadily building power to 3,000 rpm and beyond. At one point, as we approached a steep highway pass towing at 55 mph, we rolled on the throttle in an imaginary uphill passing situation. The transmission kicked down, and the next thing we knew, we were looking at 85 mph. It’s inevitable that someone will find the performance ceiling of the new 6.7-liter diesel powertrain, but it will take a pretty big load to do it. Configurations are available to tow up to 24,400 pounds."

http://news.pickuptrucks.com/2010/05/tow-test-review-2011-ford-f250-super-duty-part-1.html

@Matt:

We did the dyno test on a Mustang.

When you calc driveline multiplication with the Ford in 5th and its 4.30 rear axle, its nearly identical to the Sierra in 4th: 3.69 vs 3.73.

@ Jon

Are you serious with the first post? Your 'he left fist' excuss is a bad one to say the least. Im not going to even bother this this one because you have no clue what your talking about. You gave me a good laugh though, I have to give you that. Secondly, they are in Colorado, not California. The speed limit is often much higher than 55mph for big rigs and autos with trailers. As for your third post, ya it looks like he said that, but it was also before he put it up against the new Duramax, which in this test, blew the doors off of the Ford.

Ole Greg, Laugh it up. It is not an "excuss", but the word you were looking for is excuse.

It matters because the comment about catching up fails to mention the obvious. Because the trucks were in a single file line the GM truck had the head start in that comparison. The F-450 had to wait for the GM to leave.

The other point is the 1.5 ton F-450 is speed limited and built for the heaviest loads.

Why test a 1.5 ton truck that is built for a different reason (heavy 22k+ loads) against a 1 ton truck with a load appropriate for a 3/4 ton truck? Would it not make common sense to use the F-350 if you wanted a TRUE comparison?

The reason one should buy F-450 is to tow 22,000-24,000+ lbs. GM does not offer this 1.5 class of truck, but Ford does. That is the comparison.

If you think which truck is fastest makes the best truck, go right ahead and think that. But in the competition, compare the same class of truck to the same class.

"As for your third post, ya it looks like he said that, but it was also before he put it up against the new Duramax, which in this test, blew the doors off of the Ford."

The 1.5 ton F-450 is in a different class and is designed this way for a reason.

Compare the same class to the same class.

In the HD shootout, for the 16 Percent Hill Climb Test, the 1 ton Ford F-350 came in only 1 second slower and only 1 mph slower with the traction control turned on and with GM not having traction control. They repeated the test in 4wd, and the Ford 1 ton F-350 beat the GM 1 ton up the hill. This was also before the update to the Ford.

http://special-reports.pickuptrucks.com/2010/08/2010-hd-16-percent-hill-climb-test-.html

@Mike Levine, Great story. It's nice to see a real world comparison. Ford did a great job with the new engine, but it seems that the high altitude hurt it a little. And lets face it.....51MPH up a hill? That's embarrassing, no matter how you slice it!

People argue that the F450 is in a class of its own. I argue that the Duramax is still in a class all its own when it comes to real world domination.

Having a solid front axle is the only bonus in the Ford HDs. I would rather have more power under my foot, which is where GM is in a class all its own (for now).

@Jon, Keep reaching.....I don't typically tow my trailer in 4wd. Duramax doesn't need help from its transfer case and front axle to make a move up a hill. It just does it.

@lou

Take your fuel for thought on gear ratios and shove it. I knew the Ford update was bogus!

This is two tests in a row that GM has dominated! GM is the king of trucks.

GM dominated the HD shootout and GM now dominated the rocky mountain power test. GM is the fastest. Whatever truck up the hill is the fastest is the winner. GM was the fastest and the winner. Can't say I am really surprised. I can't really say I am surprised that Ford owners like Lou are trying to make excuses again.

Ford upate = nothing.

Great Truck! GM #1 HEAVY DUTY Truck! ALL HAIL THE GM AND CHEVY 3500 KING OF THE HEAVY DUTIES.

I have both:
2011 Chevrolet 3500 srw, crew cab, shortbed, ltz, duramax, Z71 black on black. (first ever srw, crewcab, shortbed, 3500 sold by my local dealer)
2011 Ford f350 srw, short bed, extended cab, lariot, powerstoke, FX4, black on black.

Both incredible trucks. But......

Well, I have been waiting patiently to tell everyone that can read this post, SEE I TOLD YOU SO!!!

I predicted the Ford update would do nothing FOR FORD and GM'S Duramax diesel would still be the winner and GM is still the king of the hill!!!!!

The ford powerjoke is STILL where it belongs, in second place getting its butt whooped by the mighty Duramax!!!

Take that to all you ford loving fans!!!

GM, the best performing truck on the market today BAR NONE!!!!!!!! YOU GOTTA LOVE IT!!!!

@ Jon

LMFAO, keep it coming guy. I want to hear more from you. You are pretty entertaining. You are right, the Ford (1.5 ton) is in a higher class than the GM (1 ton). What separates these two classes between these trucks? A whole whopping 2,700lb more towing. Ill trade that weight for GMs ability to do it that much more quickly anyday. You need to re-think this head start theory of yours pretty hard, Im going to humor you and go along with this, ok the GM got about a one second head start on the Ford due to reaction time of the Ford driver to the GM driver stepping on it. The GM weighed 3000lbs more, and the Ford couldnt make up that roughly one second head start over a SEVEN MILE grade? Please response because I would love to hear what the excuss (whoops I mean excuse) is now.

Top Dog, Reaching for what? Seems like you guys are reaching. See the results from the shootout's 16% hill climb test, 3500 vs F-350. There isn't any difference between the two.

Just a matter of time for the 2 camps to entrench and start taking shots at each other.
The new GM DMax is oviously a well thought out and executed drivetrain package.
Did the Ford loose due to 4.30 gears?
I don't think so.
Keep in mind : GM's 4th 1:1 = final ratio 3.73
Ford 5th 0.86 = final ratio 3.698
The GM was in 4th up the hill.
The Ford was in 5th for most of the hill.

Ford has come up with a potent package their first time out.
Kudos to Ford's engineers.

The DMax GM winning two tests can't be a coincidence.
Kudos to the crew at GM.

I wish GM's management was as "on the ball" as their HD engineers.

"A whole whopping 2,700lb more towing. Ill trade that weight for GMs ability to do it that much more quickly anyday."

Greg, It makes a difference when you are towing the heaviest of loads. If you don't need the extra towing of a 1.5 ton, you go with the 1 ton F-350. It's as simple as that. Ford gives you the choice.

In the HD shootout 16% grade test, the Chevy 1 ton was only 1 second quicker than Ford's 1 ton with traction control TURNED ON. The GM 1 ton does not have any traction control so this gave them a head start. This was also before the update to the Ford.

"The GM weighed 3000lbs more, and the Ford couldnt make up that roughly one second head start over a SEVEN MILE grade? Please response because I would love to hear what the excuss (whoops I mean excuse) is now."

Not when they are in a single file line and one gets a head start and one is designed for power and not speed.

If you will buy a truck based on being 1 second quicker WOT, you are not as smart as you think you are. I'm done here because you are obviously trolling.

One more thing.

It's no coincidence the Ford F-450 lost in a speed contest because it is not designed for speed and is actually speed limited.

I guess you'll have to try again with the 1 ton trucks and 3.73 gears.

Put the F-350 with the update up against the 3500 like in the HD shootout, turn off the traction control since the 3500 doesn't have it, and see how evenly matched they are. That would be a much more fair test if you like speed tests.

Over and out.

@bobidiot - Quote "Take your fuel for thought on gear ratios and shove it."
You prove to us over and over again that you are as bright as a 3 watt bulb in a power outage.

There seemed to be the impression that the Ford was "over-revving" due to the 4.30 ratio. My post was based on the theory "what would happen if both trucks were geared the same".
This thread, for the most part was a great exchange of ideas.
Did you read my post about the GM in 4th and the Ford in 5th?
Math or any semblance of logic is obviously not your strong point.
Re-read all of the posts.
I have no problems giving credit where credit is due.
You are blindly brand loyal.
A GM nameplate on a turd would garner your praise.
Why don't you tell us about your ride.
I bet your not driving around in a 2011 GM DMax.

@ lou

I couldn't help myself, that Jon guy was just too entertaining with his comments; and I couldn't agree with you more about the GM management shot. It would be nice if they were on top of their game like the HD engineers. Good point.

@Jon, Welcome to planet earth. If you didn't notice that on the 16% grade test that the GM dominated the Ford by one second, then your just silly.

Whats even more silly is how hard you are trying to defend Fords reputation. Listen, the numbers speak for themselves. I don't believe the Ford F450 is "speed Limited" to 51 MPH. LMFAO

If you want to give praise, give praise when it is due.

Give praise when it is 3500 vs updated F-350 with the same gears in the same test with no head starts.

Not heavier speed limited F-450 1.5 ton work truck vs lighter GM 3500 with 3.73 and a head start.

If GM wins the next one, I will have no problem praising GM. But it has to be a fair fight.

Fair fight meaning...

1 ton vs 1 ton

3.73 vs 3.73

exact same trailer weight

TC off because GM doesn't have it

both start at same time side by side or separately time

no comments on if one gets a head start single file

it take more up grade a software ,to get better horsepower.....and nice seat....gm have better knowledge to get the best puller,,,look this duramax have 10 years and ford have problem to pass this engine so imagine the nest dmax,,,if ford win is be a short victory..

I can`t belive all the uneducated commentors on this thread. The Ford has the most advantageous final drive and was pulling 3000 lbs less and couldn`t keep up with the GM. Mike said it himself. There is only one way to interpret this result. Gm beat Ford. Case closed.
@ Lou I think that Bob being right two times in a row is one of the signs of the apocolypse.

As for the shootout 16% grade test,it wasn't 7 miles long!I do have a new 2011 3500 SRW D/A,and it does make me feel good to see GM win these test.That being said,I think the Ford has a good foundation,but they need to do alot more refining.It's no surprise that it's not that great yet,but I bet it will be better next year.

Re: getting the job done faster

Does anyone really think you will get a job done faster with a GM diesel truck than a Ford truck? The HD shootout did show any real time savings for GM.

On the other hand, factors that could help you get the job done faster are more likely to be technology like SYNC and the Ford's new productivity screen. The tailgate step for loading and unloading would also get a job done faster. I could also see a nicer interior would also speed you along as a more comfortable interior would help you stay on the road more.

I think those features could save you more time than 1 second WOT which you wouldn't do in the real world anyway or see any real benefit from other than loss of fuel economy.

Speaking of fuel econonmy, fhe Ford is also supposed to have better fuel economy with a trailer and use less DEF. Less time at the pump is time saved.

Another thing, how much time will they spend in the shop? I hear GM trucks are in the shop more than Ford trucks and GM makes you wait on parts. That downtime is a lot more serious than anything having to do with WOT tests.

Have a great day.

The Ford would do WORSE with higher (numerically lower) gears! The Ford was nowhere near running out of gears at 51mph.
A word about rear-wheel dynos: as long as the tires are not slipping too much, they SHOULD produce accurate results. The reason for this is because the results are calculated and the engine RPM is used instead of the RPM of the roller! Different gear ratios and axle ratios will have a small effect on efficiency though. Anyone who understands the whole HP/torque thing will realize that the following is true for all motors capable of running the stated RPMs: at 5,252RPM Torque = HP, at 2,626RPM Torque is 2*HP, at 1,313RPM Torque is 4*HP. That is simple math, once you know how to compute this, you will understand that HP is a measure of how fast you can move a load and torque only says how much you can move. For example, if you lift 33,000lbs one foot in one minute, you produced 1HP. IF you produce a force of a 1,000,000lbs but nothing moves, you produced ZERO HP. If your engine has 1,000lbs of torque at 2,000RPM and mine has 2,000lbs of torque at 1,000RPM, we can do the same amount of work. Assuming the transmission ratios are identical, the axle ratio would need to be twice as high in my vehicle than in yours (for example, yours has 4.10 gears, mine 2.05!). Torque means nothing without RPM. PEACE, brothers…

"I can`t belive all the uneducated commentors on this thread. The Ford has the most advantageous final drive and was pulling 3000 lbs less and couldn`t keep up with the GM. Mike said it himself."

But only by apparently cheating with a head start. And define keep up.

Note what someone else said: Heavier 1.5 ton with 4.30 gears and speed limited vs lighter 1 ton with 3.73. The two trucks were in a single file line and GM got the head start. Not an apples to oranges comparison, and not a fair start. Give one truck a head start and I don't care if it has a heavier trailer, it will still beat you with the head start. The heavier trailer was also offset by the heavier weight of the F-450 which weighed 660 lbs more.

Put the two trucks side by side, no head start, 1 ton vs 1 ton, same trailer weight, and then redo the test and make everyone happy.

Compensating for the weight differences the two trailer weights were only a couple thousand pounds apart in the single file test.

The truck with the head start will beat you every time.

GMC: General Motors China

Government could seek foreign investors for GM

DETROIT – Investment bankers handling the upcoming General Motors Co. stock sale are expected to court foreign investors as well as those in North America, according to a U.S. Treasury Department statement.

GM and the Treasury Department would not comment Sunday on reports that the automaker is in talks with its current partner in China, SAIC, about buying a stake in the Detroit company. SAIC is owned by the Chinese government.

(More at the link below)

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20100920/ap_on_bi_ge/us_gm_ipo

hey mike go get a kenworth t300 with the 8.3 cummins and hook it up yo the same trailer and show these guys what towing is all about lol

oh i forgot to add a ten speed manual to the kenworth specs

F450 pickup is not speed limited that's y it has same size rims as a 350and some chassis parts. The F450cc is speed limited . It's still set up the same as last year

@ Mike Levine- Bro I feel bad for you man. You get kicked in the nuts for giving us a great story. Both trucks are great. You have said that before and yet the extremist claim one or the other is the true "god". At least Lou and Shawn and a few others can see both sides of the same coin...

If you do the calculation using the average speed up the grade. It took the Ford about 8 minutes and 4 seconds, and the GM only took 6 minutes and 21 seconds. It beat the Ford by nearly 90 seconds. That's huge.

As for the gearing, the 4.30 in the Ford only helped it. You can usually run closer to peak power more often which helps.
Mike even said it himself "a 3.73 rear axle on the Eisenhower grade would have been considered a major handicap versus having a 4.30 back end. It seems that the recent power levels both engines have attained are helping to make up for mechanical workarounds in the driveline."
Yes, he said the power upgrades help eliminate the disadvantage of the 3.73, but that doesn't mean, there still isn't a disadvantage. Yet the DMAX still won.

As for people saying the Ford is speed limited. Seriously? I don't think it's limited to 51MPH. I'm willing to bet everything that Mike never came close to hitting the speed limiter while pulling up the grade.

As for the people saying because he got a head start when pulling a heavier trailer and that's why he won. You don't know he got a head start. They could have been in single file, but maintaining the same speed (say 40MPH) and both punched it at the same time, and the GM pulled away.

I can't believe the excuses people make up when their brand of truck loses. The realy world numbers speak for themselves. The Duramax dominated by climbing a hill 90 seconds faster.

Also Mike,
Why do the dyno runs only go up to 2870RPM? The Duramax hit peak power at 3000RPM. It looks like the Ford was dropping off at the point while the GM was still going up. I bet if you ran it out to 3000+RPM the GM might have put out more peak HP than the Ford which might partly explain why it was so much faster.

GM always did have a nice engine. The problem they still have is the rest of their trucks build quality is piss poor. The interiors are just too cheap for a modern truck in 2010. The plastics they used would have been great in 1985 but not now and definitely not for the price of what new trucks cost. Ford trucks have superior interiors when it comes to design and material quality.

GM' also has a serious problem with their body quality and durability. They dent VERY easily and simply aren't suited for work use because of this. The metal they spec'd is far too thin for what should be used even at a minimum on a truck. Door skins, hoods and even front fenders may be accpetably to go a 'little' thinner to save weight. However, rocker panels (or lower door skins) and especially the beds and tailgates need to be thicker, stronger and more durable. The bumpers are just terrible as well. I've seen several just bent and dented up like tin cans. GM has a very serious issue here and it needs to be fixed. I'm very surprised Ford hasn't used this issue in marketing advertisements yet. Everyone I know with a new Chevy/GMC has complained about it and have been Very upset over it. Upset enough to where they won't purchase another GM truck again. After all, they bought a new truck body and it looks like it had 15 years worth of abuse within 15 months.

That's Not Quality GM... I challenge Pickuptrucks.com to test things like this in the future. It's not All about power. It's about durability as well.

@ Dave Your understanding is a little flawed. The GM has a higher combined weight with the heavier trailer. Ford weighs 600 lbs more than the GM but the extra 3000lbs of the GM trailer kind of offsets that don't you think. GM 3.73 rear end, Ford 4.30. Again advantage Ford. When people say that 4.30 gears limit top end they are correct but that is in reference to top speed. The f450 is capable of going faster than 60 mph. You also keep saying that the truck with the head start would obviously win. Well yeah, your right, if the clock started ticking for both trucks before the Ford could take off. I didn't see any timed runs posted so you can't say that GM won because it was allowed to leave first. If these trucks ran side by side you would get the same result. The GM had the power to reach 66 the Ford only 51. This will not change regardless of who goes first. Actually, if you think about it the Ford had another advantage being behind as it was pushing less wind being behind the GM. If they started side by side the speed difference would have been greater as the Ford would be pushing max wind the entire time like the GM. It seems like the Ford boys are having a hard time accepting this power test. Results are results.

who cars if its a f450 vs. a 3500 it wasnt a direct comparison and it was not labeled as a shootout. It was just for giggles and to see the capabilities of these new engines and designs, personally I enjoyed reading it I would never buy a Ford or Chevy just b/c I like Dodges but these are two very nice trucks and you cant go wrong buying either one once again good job Mike and put.com team

Guys - trailers were identical
quote"But dyno results can only tell us so much. So we took both trucks and hooked them up to a Dutchmen Colorado fifth wheel travel trailer that weighed about 10,700 pounds and tested them at high altitude on Interstate 70."

The pictures show 2 separate trailers but run the hill with only the Dutchman.
Notice the story says "A" Dutchman trailer. I bet they ran the trucks one at a time.
@ Mike Levine - could you clarify this point?

Even if they ran the trucks together being behind would not be a real handicap.
It wasn't a drag race.
It could be if you were in the turbulant air behind the lead trailer.
It would not yield any aerodynamic advantage either as you'd need to be bumper to bumper for the lead rig to break the air.
You could argue that if the Ford went first it would handicap the faster GM. (I'll catch some heat for that comment. LOL.)

@lou: We ran the trucks one at a time using the same trailer -- the Dutchmen travel trailer.

Every test I see never shows real world trailers. Nobody buys 3500 DRW trucks to pull 10K trailers, when SRW pull this all day and get better MPG, less tires to replace and are easier to drive empty. F350 SRW is much smoother than a F450 DRW, yet is rated to tow 16.5K 5th wheel trailers.
I have a 09 F350 SRW CC Long Bed with Air bags and I pull a 45-Ft 5th wheel Toy hauler RV trailer, empty wt is about 11k, loaded weight is 16.9K and my truck tows it like a champ all day. Plus when I'm empty and no trailer it’s a much smoother ride. So why would you use a 1-ton or 1.5 ton DRW truck for 10K loads is crazy. F-450 is for towing 20K and up. Anything below that is a waste.
Yet I’m impress with the performance of the GMC, its awesome. Yet I don’t race up hills with 16.7K trailer, I drive more normal speeds to get better MPG. These trucks are not race cars. Plus the Ford is the better truck for heavy weights. I test drove a 09 Chevy and hooked it up to my trailer and the ride was poor at best. The trailer seemed to dominate the truck; the Ford SD is the best all around truck for towing heavy Trailers. Interior is nicer, the Cab is bigger, and I have a solid front end, not the wimpy GM stuff. Plus I can hear myself talk inside the Cab. Try that in a Dodge. Lastly I’m not going to drive 300K miles with my ford, hell I will own it maybe 5-years and will put 75K-100K on it. Then I will move up to a new and better truck and let the next guy deal with the old stuff. Yet seems Dodge owns think they will have their trucks 20-years and will drive 300k, LOL. I will upgrade in 5-years.

@Jordan L. - "@ Lou I think that Bob being right two times in a row is one of the signs of the apocolypse. "

LMAO

I hope your wrong, but then again - a broken clock is correct twice a day.

Even with the issues of this story (real or percieved) it will push Ford to a) find the problem if it exists, and b) fix it if something needs fixing.

And thats a good thing.

Seems odd all their testing would not find these potential issues? Even if they were testing against 2010 competitors.

On a side note, I checked out a 2011 GM Denali the other day. They sure look great from the outside. Sharp! Finally some bigger better looking wheels!

But that cab/interior is not up to par! Ugliest gawd awful woodgrain ever seen! What were they thinking? No real interior storage compared to others? Not even rear door map pockets? Needs a re-do inside. But pulls like H@ll.

Funny none of the big 3 seems to get it "all right" at the same time. One has the better chassis, teh other the stand alone engine, the other the cab etc? Looks are always subjective.

For the cost of these diesel units, I'd need it to have it all make me write that check!



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