Chevy and Ford Diesels Get Ready to Rumble in Colorado

Chevy and Ford Diesels Ready to Rumble in Colorado
Photo by Harry Rawlins/Mike McGlothlin

Remember the heavy-duty high altitude towing and exhaust brake challenge that Chevrolet issued to Ford a month ago? It's so on. We've got two one-ton dually diesel pickups ready to rumble in the Colorado Rockies in the next few days.

The first truck is a 2011 Chevy Silverado 3500 LT crew cab with a 3.73 rear axle and 397 horsepower, 765 pounds-feet of torque 6.6-liter Duramax V-8. The second rig is a 2011 Ford F-350 XLT crew cab with a 3.73 rear axle and a 400 hp, 800 pounds-feet 6.7-liter Power Stroke V-8.

Chevrolet is moving forward with the showdown after being turned down by Ford. They've asked us and our friends at Diesel Power Magazine to drive the trucks and act as impartial judges to verify the configurations and measure truck performance up and down the grades towing an 18,500 pound gooseneck trailer.

Where did the trucks come from? Chevrolet paid for both trucks brand new from Chevy and Ford dealers in Michigan and Indiana.

The Chevy Silverado had 8 miles on its odometer, .9 hours on its engine meter and plastic on the steering wheel when we picked it up last week in Detroit. The Ford Super Duty was delivered to Detroit by a third party fleet company with 323 miles on its odometer. We've had both trucks in our possession since late last week and we drove them to Denver over the weekend.

Yesterday was the weigh-in for both contenders. The Chevy tipped the scales at 8,220 pounds and the Ford checked in at 8,440 pounds. Check out Diesel Power for the observed fuel economy during the drive from Michigan to Colorado.

What happens next? Stay tuned for updates.


"One design, or Ford's 4 different designs. No contest on reliability, GM wins hands down."

3rd there bud, the 7.3 is from the 6.2 chev diesel days. As said over and over and over those other 2 were navistar engines ok.

Like this comparo even matters, people are going to buy what looks better and both motors are over powered and silly for the average guy who needs these work trucks. They get the same work done around the world with smaller more efficient diesel engines.

Mike Levine

From my reading of the Diesel power report.

Correct me if I am wrong.
It appears that the Ford and Chevy used 3/4's of a gallon of urea on a trip of 318 miles of mixed driving at low altitude.
That's a range of 1500 miles on Urea at low altitude for the Chevy.. (5.5 gallons of on board urea)
I haven't found the capacity for the ford. I had heard it was 12 gallons. But that the urea does get old. So keeping a large amount on board for low mileage trucks can be a problem.

With a 12 gallon tank that would be about 2800 miles. Better, but. at low altitude.

A lot less than what I have seen advertized. And Urea is an added expense. Especially if you have to add in mileage to make extra trips for Urea. Especially if you run out and are stuck in limp mode in the back country for a 100 miles or more..

So how does this compare to your high altitude high weight pull.
What is the availability of urea in the back country.
How long can I keep a jug of urea in the truck before it's expiration date is reached?

You know if Chevy can unlock the doors with Onstar couldn't they also download a better tune when the truck is out there.They know where it is and what the serial no. is I bet.

I would b embarrassed driving a ford.... Mike I see alot of ur vids...does ford actually think out can win...we ll they backed guess I have my answer...sup has gm passed ford in sales yet...i know they will by the end of the jus keep putting out junk

This will be the first comparison with the the build II Ford 400hp/800 torque and the 2011 Duramax. The update in the Ford also included some computer changes to the transmission. After this test Mike L. should be able to tell us any advantages the changes have made from the Shootout. Looking forward to the results.

This competition really makes no difference to me. How many races has Ford won this year in NASCAR? Mpg, towing, brakes, etc.. blah blah. If it runs it will run. Chevy hands down.

BTW just out of curiosity, are these truck manual or automatic tranny's?

I can't honestly speak to any truck brand of the past few generations, I can only look at the companies' cars and work from there--along with certain independent reviews from unbiased sources.

However, my past experience with Ford across the board has never been good, no matter what model I owned. Yes, they looked good and even performed well, but their reliability was never what I could call even acceptable. This view is enhanced by the fact that I know many Ford owners who say their brand-new cars become problematical after owning them only a few months. Ford's trucks in particular took a significant hit when a UK television show trialed the F-150 not that long ago and complained loudly about the poor fit and finish despite the remarkable performance.

Chevy, or rather GM, gave me relatively solid reliability overall, but with at least one model I had to require a design change on their 3.8l front-wheel-drive V6 due to torque lift stressing a sensor connection on the wiring harness which had me bringing the car back to the dealership every three months--GM just started over-engineering their cars and with the new Volt has proven that they haven't learned their lesson. The Volt could have used an off-the-shelf two- or four-cylinder engine on an all-electric driveline and saved millions of dollars in R&D--especially since all they really needed to do was downscale a technology the railroads have been using for 80 years! I do know GM's trucks seem to record the longest operational life for their trucks--some recording 50 or more years of unbroken registration, but if their trucks are as over-engineered as their cars, how much of that price tag is wasted money?

Finally, I look at Dodge and Chrysler. They developed a pretty poor reputation in the 60s due to bringing technologies out before they were properly tested and had too many breakdowns. However, over time they have managed to reverse that reputation somewhat to the point that while most of their cars really don't look good, they seem to be solidly reliable compared to the other two brands. Yes, they've had their financial difficulties, but their products seem to be almost everywhere--Jeep Wranglers in almost every parking lot you visit, Caravans an almost-ubiquitous sight, their trucks working hard right next to their Ford and Chevy brethren. I've owned two different Chrysler products in my life, and neither one of them has given me any problems in the years I've owned them; my current 4-door Wrangler getting anywhere from 2 to 5 mpg higher than EPA ratings and notably more rigid than my 2002 Saturn Vue, a brand and model that GM's poor management destroyed after earning a stellar reputation in the brand's first ten years.

Ford has always had good management, but for me poor products.
Chevy has always had good products, but poor management.
Chrysler has never had a great reputation, but seems to just keep on keeping on.

My choice for now--Chrysler. How about adding a RAM to that test before you get too deeply into it?

It does not matter if you win or lose, it's how you play the game.

Ford has a better truck that would fits my needs.

The difference in performance between the two is minimal. I will never buy a Truck based on 0-60 mph times.

This is being blown out of proportion.

Does everyone think people will be drag racing with a such a big load?

To some people, this test is redundant.

It's a good read nonetheless when I'm having breakfast in the morning.

The comments on this article are hysterical, especially the GM Fanboi's. I would bet half them here are the ages of 14-19.

Thanks for read Mike Levine. Keep up the good work.

You would think the ford with its high tech dual turbo setup would win the high altitude test.

They arent afraid of a single turbo are they?

@ Vulpine - your experience does not mesh with statistical reality.

Here are their 2010 overall rankings by nameplate:

BRANDS OVERALL (defects per 100 vehicles):

Industry average was 108 per 100

1.Porsche (83)
2.Acura (86)
3.Mercedes-Benz (87)
4.Lexus (88)
5.Ford (93)
6.Honda (95)
7.Hyundai (102)
8.Lincoln (106)
9.Infiniti (107)

10.Volvo (109)
11.Ram (110)
12.Audi (111)
13.Cadillac (111)
14.Chevrolet (111)
15.Nissan (111)
16.BMW (113)
17.Mercury (113)
18.Buick (114)
20.Scion (114)
21.Toyota (117)
22.Subaru (121)
23.Chrysler (122)
24.Suzuki (122)
25.GMC (126)
26.Kia (126)
27.Jeep (129)
28.Dodge (130)
29.Jaguar (130)
30.Mini (133)
31.Volkswagen (135)
32.Mitsubishi (146)
33.Land Rover (170)

the best truck win.....first you get a ford and you are amazing about this truck,to one day you drive a gm y no the felling y drive one,one day,,,,the only thing y said is wow...

HICKKS said "How many races has Ford won this year in NASCAR?"

Why does that matter? Have really looked at who's on top in SALES month over month this year? FYI it sales that pays the bills.
Top wasn't GM.
Again Ford is over GM.

Well, we know the automakers pay attention to this site which is good news! Should be interesting to see how well these perform.

@ Hickks - Dodge is the only one left with a manual transmission.

So the GM would need a bag weighing 220 pounds to equal the weight of the Ford. Both trucks should also have the same size wheels and same brand of tires.

Apples to Apples.

you know im a truck man and i am a ford guy but i dont minde dodge or chevy but the fact the chevy is this sad as to go this far to try and prove a point dosnt sit well with me why cant they let the guys wow buy the truck dicide i mean do you see dodge doing this or ford for the matter. No you dont and i think that speaks louder then this just one more reason for me not to like goverment motors

@supercrew02 -
JD Power puts Ford at #5 and Consumer Report puts Ford at #10.
JD Power puts Chev at #14 and GM at #23.
Consumer Report scores Chev #17 and Gm #21.
Dodge unfortunately is close to the bottom on both sites.

That is one of the big reasons why I bought a Ford.

To Everyone that says since the GM weighs less it'll win. Like someone else said since the Ford weighs 220lbs more, I say they put 500lbs in the GMC and I bet it still wins.

Also, Mike already did a test at sea level, and the Duramax squeeked a win.

@Ryan-Government Motors is also useing tax payer money to fund this dog and pony show too!!!!!

GM=The Heartburn of America

i think its time chevy chaned there trucks the style is old and ugly they cant keep up with FORD go team . toyota needs to change there design to

well folks the durmax come out in 1999 and ford cant make thier own engine they had a truck manufactor build it wow how bright is ford/ international , must not be too damn smart .oh by the way the durmax can and will be up to 700 horse and ford wont be ther either.

@P(a.k.a rob) Having a snack before bedtime?

The comments in this forum are fun! The Ford and Chevrolet are as close as Mike could get them.

So the GM weighs 220 pounds less than the Ford. Well, the Ford has 400 horsepower, which is 3 more than the GM. 1 horsepower is the equivalent of moving 550 pounds one foot (vertically) in 1 second. Lets not even talk about the torque advantage of the Ford.

This will all be a wash in the end. One of the trucks is going to win, but the win will be by a second or less. WOW! 1 Second. I just hope the test isn't hindered by weather! It is November in the Rockies you know.

@Rob. Man, are you serious? I love the Duramax, but I would check your facts about its development before you make a post like that......Its not like GM thought of its original version on their own.

I've driven a 2006 Chev HD Dmax for 176k miles and have often noted the Alison shift profile takes several hundred miles to adjust (learn) to different trailer weights. Any other thoughts on this matter with two almost brand new trucks? Does the Ford also have the same issues with computer controlled shift points?

my father has purchased 3 yes 3 LEMONS FROM CHEVY over the last 5 years now hows that for chevwhat he is in the proseses of his 3rd one and every time he ask me what to do i tell him GET YOUR MONEY BACK AND GO TO #1 T O Y O T A BUT NO HE GOES BACK TO SHITVY T H E Y S U C K

I think Chevy has hired Rahm Emanuel as there PR guy. I guess hired isnt the right word as he is a govt official. Thats right.

Can the rest of you posters learn some basic prose skills? The last couple of posts are quite dismal to read and I know not all of you are ESL.

Four items:

1.) Chevy diesels ship from the factory with 2 gallons of DEF in the tank. When DPM recorded the DEF they added, they were filling it to capacity for the first time.

2.) We finished up the testing at 2:30 am MT. All the runs were clean - at least three for each truck. We timed them up the approx. 8 mile grade from Dillon, CO to the entrance of the Eisenhower Tunnel - eastbound on I70.

3.) Trailer weight: 18,920 pounds, Tongue weight: 2,420 pounds (a bit light), Axle weight: 16,500 pounds, 3 pallets of flagstone at 4,140 pounds per pallet, Empty trailer weight is 6,500 pounds.

4.) For those asking why we didn't include a Ram HD, we would have exceeded its GCW by more than 2,000 lbs. That would not have been safe. The Silverado with trailer was 27,140 pounds. The Super Duty was 27,340 pounds.

Well, Ford will lose again. Such pussies. They turn down every challenge, and lose all these tests. The GMC 3500 beat the f-450 in this same test. Watch it happen again...

P.S. All of you that KEEP SAYING OVER AND OVER AGAIN to make this a "FAIR" test at low altitude, it's been done. It's called the heavy duty shootout. And Ford lost there too.

The original shootout was not done with the job #2 truck from Ford. That's why people are asking for it to be done at regular altitude.

As for the Colorado test, Mike twittered that the results were surprising. What does this mean? Hmmmmmmm. shootout:

"The Sierra Denali 3500 pulled strong after a small slip at the start line but was able to get its six-ton trailer up to 60 mph in 18.8 seconds, a full half-second faster than the Super Duty. The Super Duty’s transmission seemed well-suited to bring the fight to the Denali after 60 mph. In fact, by the time the F-350 got to the quarter-mile marker, it had closed the gap with the GMC to almost nothing. The best time for the Denali was 22.3 seconds, while the best time for the Ford was 22.4, and we’re guessing if this were a half-mile flat-tow head-to-head test, the Power Stroke would have likely overtaken the Duramax in the next 200 feet."

The Chevy 1 ton was just .1 seconds faster than Ford's job #1 truck. Now you see why people are asking for it to be redone, and now you see why Chevy cherry picked the test and doesn't want anything to do with regular or low altitude.


I will be laughing if GM loses this challenge, and for the simple fact they gave another sale to Ford.

One more from the shootout:

7% hillclimb with trailers

"The fastest one-ton truck up the hill was the Ford F-350, just a tenth of a second faster than the GMC Sierra Denali 3500HD and 3.7 seconds faster than the Ram."


@Max Screw Job 2. It is a marketing ploy. They ALREADY had a Job 2 do this against the GMC 2500 Denali and the F-450 got SMOKED. No Suprise There! The surprise here will be that despite the weight advantage and "software update" they will still find a way to lose!

@supercrew02 Sorry Buddy. I know your REALLY impressed that Ford's F-150-750 outsell the Silverado 1500-3500. I'm not. GM always outsells Ford. Let's add up the Silverado 1500-3500, GMC 1500-3500, then add in the Chevy/GMC 4500-7500 trucks not under "Silverado/Sierra Series" and see where we end up. How ignorant is that argument getting?

Yes, I know I said 2500 Denali. It's 3500 Denali. Still One-Ton vs One and One Half Ton and Ford STILL LOST.

F-450 vs F-250 is not a fair test.

The Colorado test, Mike said the results were surprising so you never know. Ford might pull a win at GM's own game.

You are wrong about Ford losing the shootout. They lost some but also won some. The ones they lost were not by much; therefore, Ford has a very good chance of winning some of the tests they lost if they were redone with the job #2 trucks. That's why GM and their fans don't want to touch the low alt challenges.

@Max. Yea I am wrong about Ford losing the shootout. That's why Chevrolet and GMC are listed a winners. Such Denial. Ford only wins when they put the 2011 vs. 2010 as seen on their website. Wake Up!

@supercrew02 By the way, put Ford's overall company sales vs GM company sales and it's embarassing. GM sells way more cars, trucks, or whatever worldwide that Ford ever dreamed.

@ Zach - This site posted sales figures from JD Power and clarified the "whole Ford counts everything BS.
Ford and Dodge count trucks up to 450/4500.
GM doesn't make anything bigger than a 3500.
Larger trucks are separate.
JD Power had a study that excluded 450/4500.
Ford still came out ahead. Ford absolutely dominated the HD ranks.
The biggest surprise was that Dodge sells almost as many HD trucks as Chevrolet.

Zach to quote YOU "How ignorant is that argument getting?"

Ignorance is a state of being uninformed (lack of knowledge).

It looks like you meet the definition of your own argument!


GM does not make anything bigger than the 3500 HD. You FAIL!!!!

All your post are an utter failure. You don't know what you are talking about. Run along GOBLIN.


Zach is just showing his ignorance as he's just another Troll/Goblin in the shed. I wouldn't waste my time on uninformed ignorant posters.

How's that new F150. Have you towed anything with it?

@ Frank - I love it. Rides great, lots of power, nice interior. I spent all my money buying it. Now I have to save up to buy a trailer.

@Lou "Sales of both Silverado 1500 and Sierra 1500 continue to outsell the F-150." LOL. Another Ford Lie. Ford doesn't sell the most half ton trucks and never has. Everyone knows Silverado/Sierra are the same. Thanks for the link reinforcing the truth. Sure the Super Duty might outsell the GM HDs on paper, but in the real world, proves which is REALLY better. Oh and by the way, JDPower lists the Silverado/Sierra as the best truck in initial quality. Oh and by the way again, the Silverado is listed as the number one truck for 2011 by U.S. News and world report. Ignorant? I think not.

Not tryin to take any sides here because they all produce some nice HD'S, but it looks like Lou has the facts to back up what he is sayin. Just an outsider observation! I look forward to the review Mr. Levine, Colorado is absolutley beautiful in the fall!

@ Zack
still would not touch a government motor they better have a better truck (if you say so) with the $114billion dollar bail out that they never did and never will pay back with all that money and they still can't get it right

The topic at hand is HD Trucks not 1/2 tons.

If you add up Sierra and Silverado 1/2 tons they do sell more than Ford F150.

Point is the Sierra and Silverado are not the same truck.

I do not cherry pick data like Chevie fanboys.

Have you ever wondered why GM corp. does not lump Sierra and Silverado sales together to claim the #1 spot?

Please post your answer to enlighten us ignorant Ford guys.

Look at the PUTC 1/2 ton shootout. Sierra/Silverado did not tie for 2nd (after the F150). Silverado was 2nd, Sierra was 5th place.

Compare reliability data on the Sierra and Silverado. They have different rankings. (You can look up the data on that one since I'm to ignorant to do it for you.)

If they are the same truck - why the difference?

Please post your answer to enlighten us ignorant Ford guys.

The F150 won the PUTC shootout.
To quote you "It's clear through this website's unbiased tests, that they do not. Hilarious."
To follow your exact words - that proves that the F150 is the best 1/2 ton.

or am I too ignorant to spot all of the obvious discrepancies and illogical thought patterns eminating from your posts.

Zach - the new Bob of PUTC. Congratualtions.

Zach (TROLL/GOBLIN) got owned!!!!!

Are there any adults to supervise zach?

Adding fuel to the fire...
Sources & &
So temperatures noted are 18F, 11F, & 5F...
At an altitude of 9000ft, air density is as follows:
18F@9000ft = 0.0591 lbm/ft3
11F@9000ft = 0.06 lbm/ft3, or 1.5% higher air density than at 18F@9000ft
5F@9000ft = 0.0607 lbm/ft3, or 2.6% higher air density than at 18F@9000ft
Ford ran first, presumably at a higher temperature. Since colder air is denser, yielding more power, does this give Chevy Silverado an unfair advantage???

Really, I'm curious how things played out. Mike says that tests were very productive; results are surprising & great. We're all waiting for the complete results & impressions, not just the time difference from point A to point B of brand X vs. brand Y; although it would be great if our favorite truck came out on top, too!

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