Ford F-Series Super Duty to Reclaim Best-in-Class Conventional Towing Ratings

Ford F-Series Super Duty Claims Best-in-Class Conventional Towing Ratings

The 2011 Ford F-Series Super Duty and GM Heavy Duty pickups were introduced a year ago, but the battle between these giants for best-in-class bragging rights continues. The latest move: Ford is set to reclaim the top spot for maximum conventional towing from the Chevy Silverado and GMC Sierra HD twins.

On Monday, Feb. 7 — if the massive winter storm bearing down on the Midwest doesn’t disrupt production — Ford F-350 and F-450 two-wheel and four-wheel drive dual-rear-wheel Crew Cab pickups will roll off the assembly line able to pull up to 17,500 pounds with their ball hitches, according to Ford spokeswoman Anne Marie Gattari.

"We’re adding upgraded towing hardware to the trucks," Gattari said. “New hitches will work with the frame change we made [in August 2010]."

Last year, Ford made a running change to the Super Duty’s ladder frame that reengineered the number six cross member with high-strength steel. That change, plus a power hike to 400 horsepower and 800 pounds-feet of torque for the 6.7-liter Power Stroke V-8 diesel, increased maximum payload to a best-in-class 7,070 pounds and maximum fifth-wheel towing to a best-in-class 22,600 pounds for the Ford F-350. The Ford F-450 can tow a segment-leading 24,500 pounds with a fifth-wheel trailer.


The previous maximum conventional towing weight rating for the Super Duty was 16,000 pounds, 1,000 pounds less than the Chevy Silverado 3500HD and GMC Sierra 3500HD with four-wheel drive and the 397 hp, 765 pounds-feet 6.6-liter Duramax V-8.

Ford’s revised 2.5-inch Class 5 hitches will still come with removable 2-inch reducer sleeves.

Unlike GM’s HD pickups, which require only a weight carrying hitch to pull conventional trailers at their max rating, the Super Duty’s maximum WC hitch capacity will be 8,000 pounds. Towing trailers with weights above that amount will require a weight-distributing hitch, according to Ford.

WC hitches place a trailer’s full tongue weight on the hitch ball, while a WD hitch’s special equalizer bars connect truck and trailer to redistribute the leverage placed by tongue weight on the ball to more of the trailer and more of the truck frame.

With Ford aggressively pushing the limits of HD capabilities, we wonder how much more of an increase the segment can handle before these heavy-duty pickups turn into over-the-road medium-duty haulers. It’s unlikely that GM (or Ram) will respond to this news passively. Could 18,000 pounds max conventional towing become the new 17,500 pounds?


If you need a weight distributing hitch to get that weight rating and you can get 17 wc with the gm it's no contest for something like towing a boat, which you can'd do wd due to surge breaks.

GM's new chassis is very impressive, evident in the fact that they do not require a weight distributing hitch at maximum trailer weight.

This powerstroke platform has unbelievable potential. Ford is still dialing this beast in. I'm thinking of trading in my Silverado for a Super Duty.

All this is is a glorified pissing contest between the Big 3 (Well Ford and GM anyway) until the new SAE standards are in place. You got something to tow within reason of these truck's capabilitys, hitch it up.

All of this is getting out of control. The next increase is going to get Peterbilt's attention. Any more and these guys all begin to graduate from the class. Problem is, some people don't need 800 lb/ft of torque, and I think they will be increasingly hesitant of splurging on such unnecessary power. It will become wasteful to own one.

Good job Ford! This is why Ford has been the best selling truck for 34 years in a row. Can't wait to see the new Super Duty in the Harley.

When everyone is resting, Ford is constantly improving. This is called CANI. Constant And Never-ending Improvement.

Ford keeps pushing the limits to reign king of the hill but I have yet to see any upgrades done to the brakes. Thats a lot of weight to control and I want the best braking performance and exhaust braking power to back these numbers up. Ford please do something about this before you raise the limits again.

To the poster whining about too much power...there is no such thing!! These new Ford diesels are absolute beasts. They can get 22 MPG empty and tow a freaking house around! Can't wait until my 2011 is built and arrives!!!!

Great work Ford! Make the competition beg for mercy!

Come on Ram Heavy is time (has been for a while now) to catch up to the other guys.

Here is my 2 cents, who and the hell wants to pull 17,000lbs around on a ball hitch bumper pull. There will be much walking of the truck even with dual wheels, load stability and weight distribution hitches. I don't care if its ford, dodge or chevy I think for all of them its to much. Thats what they make goosenecks and 5th wheels for or maybe a pintle hitch. I don't know why ford wants to do this, in the towing session their exhaust brake didn't help, putting all this weight on the brakes which smelled burnt at the end of the decent in the rumble of the rockies. Hope those trailer breaks work - better be electric or vacuum over hydraulic - surge brakes i doubt will work with WD.

Jimmy Johnson-

I agree with you. Having a lot of power is a good thing. It makes for safer freeway merging and passing on the highway. The more power an engine has...the less it has to work...and the longer it will last.

I think that 500 horsepower and 1,000 lb.-ft. of torque should be the final target. That would be plenty sufficiant for the average, non-commercial, pickup driver.


I am a Ford guy but even I find this funny as hell. Most of these trucks will NEVER be used to tow anything that a half ton can't handle. As far as the few that do tow heavy loads it would be better to use a 5th wheel as Jason said. Also anyone who tows heavy loads can attest, if you don't use a weight distributing hitch then you are making harder on the truck and decreasing control of the load... I don't care what Chevy claims it can do, to tow that much of a load w/o WD is just plain stupid...

Oh that magic fords spring dust again! and all of that on a dated chassis, no wonder why I can't trust ford. Plus all of this coming from a woman, what do they know about trucks?

Who needs 17k on a bumper pull? Good question. Were you also complaining when GM increased their tow rating from 16000 to 17000 just a few months ago?

Braking. In 2005 and 2008 there were upgrades to Ford's brakes. Ford doesn't wait 10 years to make changes. They make them as they go along.

In the HD shootout all 3/4 ton gas trucks stopped within 2 feet of each other.

The 3/4 ton diesel trucks - Ram stopped 2 feet shorter than Ford. GM was last - stopped 6 longer than Ram. 1 ton GM stopped the shortest.

Does Ford need new brakes again? Maybe but the tests don't show a huge difference in braking. In the real world you won't need any better brakes.

Ford is the only 1 ton with trailer sway control. GM doesn't have it on 1 ton. Ram only has it on the half ton.

To quote Mike, "Love trailer sway control. One of the best new features in recent years on pickups. Makes the road safer for everyone."

That front end of SD looks like it's been manufactured back in 70's.

GM Increases Towing and Hauling Figures for 2011 Heavy Duty Trucks
Posted by Mike Levine | May 17, 2010
"The battle royale among the titans of trucks continues. As expected, General Motors is upping the previously announced capability ratings of its new 2011 Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra Heavy Duty pickups to reclaim several best-in-class towing and hauling figures from Ford's 2011 F-Series Super Duty lineup."

"In a matchup of series versus series, GM says it now leads all HD segments in maximum conventional towing, with the one-ton Chevy Silverado and GMC Sierra 3500 able to pull up to 17,000 pounds (up from 16,000 pounds) compared with the identical 16,000-pound max conventional towing rating for the one-ton Ford F-350 and one-and-a-half-ton Ford F-450. The Ram 3500HD is rated at 12,000 pounds."

Also anyone who tows heavy loads can attest, if you don't use a weight distributing hitch then you are making harder on the truck and decreasing control of the load... I don't care what Chevy claims it can do, to tow that much of a load w/o WD is just plain stupid...
Posted by: Shawn | Feb 1, 2011 10:34:26 PM

Very true.

I don't know about you guys but I've never seen a weight-distributing hitch on a boat trailer. That being said, sounds like the GM is ideal for very very large boats which are the heaviest things I tow.

Maybe you haven't seen one on a boat trailer because the boats weren't that heavy? My 22 FT sailboat for instance only weighs 2,100 pounds!

Yes, boats can use weight distribution. To find out if the trailer can be used with weight distribution, you would need to consult the trailer manufacturer.

Now going to the page Mike linked to on Hitch Types, it says:

Weight-Carrying Hitches:
Weight-carrying or conventional hitches are common with light-duty pickups and are frequently used for smaller trucks with a tow rating up to 5,000 pounds. The ball on a truck’s bumper or a square receiver underneath the bumper usually indicates a weight-carrying hitch. All the trailer’s tongue weight is put on the ball. That weight directly affects truck handling and braking, and that’s one of the reasons why they’re limited to lesser loads.

With weight carrying hitch all the weigh is put on the ball and it effects handlign and braking and that is why they are limited to lesser loads. Chevy says it is ok to carry all 17k on the ball? This paragraph from Mike conflicts with that.


No, I wasn't complaining about GM increasing their towing ratings because at least they have an all new frame, suspension and brakes that can hopefully manage a load like that. Ford on the other hand hasn't any of that but still ups their ratings. You don't see dodge just increasing their ratings just to keep up, but I bet they will when their new beefed up motor and pickup line come out.

" In the real world you wont need any better brakes"

WOW! That tells me that you haven't hauled a really heavy load and had to stop fast because someone darted in front you when you were trying to leave room between cars to stop in. Much less been in that car when the driver of that rig is trying not to put his front end in you, your wife or child. In the real world I bet you will want the best brakes.

@Tom: No, they're definitely heavy 34ft-47ft offshore race boats with double even triple big blocks 8,000-14,000 lbs without the trailers which are usually triple axle steel monsters. I think the reason why I've never seen it is because they'd rust up immediately in the lovely salt water of the Pacific.

However a technology I have only seen on these trailers is electrically activated hydraulic 4 wheel disc brakes. Makes stopping a lot less of an event.

Sean- that would mean they have a hydraulic actuator- very interesting.
Evan- there are plenty of huge tag enclosed trailers out there, but most of them will have WD hitches. Big deck-over equipment trailers with pintle hitches usually do not, however, and they're easily designed for over 20k#. Gooseneck hitches wont work for those, since they often go behind dump trucks.
Buy-Bye America- Ram is waiting until they get their new transmission. Cummins pick-ups will then likely also go to urea injection.
Mike L- Did Ford start using the SuperCrew naming on the Super Duty as well? Hadn't heared that.

Who in there right mind would Tow 17k on a conventional Hitch!!!!! I've been towing loads over 20k day in and day out. Personally the safest way to do that is with a 5th wheel or goosneck hitch, in the bed where the weight is over the axle not behind it!!! the other thing that really makes me mad is that ford is calling there F350 truck a 450 because all they did was up the GVWR to 13050.... THAT IS NOT A 450!
A true 450 is a medium duty truck.

ford why up youre tow rateing's when you can't even out perfrom a duramax's motor with less hp and tq haha and youre crap exhust brake what a joke whats next job 10? i love to watch ford make a fool of themself's give me a durmax plz ;)

Haha, job 3 ford. lol Come on Ford stop for a while and figure out the whole truck... so you increase your capacity again??? What is the reason behind that? Didn't the king of the hill challenge already show that you couldn't even keep up with the GM twins both up hill and down hill??? When is ford going to come out with job 4, that has improved brakes, then job 5 when they come out with a good turbo break. lmao

Ford will do anything to claim best in class so they can boast best in class towing, payload etc. Ford was out powered by GM's Duramax so they upped their hp and torque so they could boast the most. Didn't do them any good though because GM'S power stroke was dominant over the powerstroke in the pickup shootout and the rumble in the rockies.

Another thing Ford does is usually they only have one truck configuration that is capable of that max tow rating but act like all their super duty's will tow that much. Ford reminds me of someone with a inferiority complex and is always trying to one up GM. Doesn't suprise me in the least bit that Ford did this because the trucks from GM kicked sand in their face and has beaten the powerstroke in every performance catagories. We all know the Chevrolet Silverado HD is Motor Trends "Truck of the Year"

Ford can claim this or that, but GM'S HD'S are better trucks.
So let it be written, so let it be done!!!

to me it sounds like the GM fan boys are jealous and making all kinds of excuses by bashing ford who cares anybody pulling that kind of weight on a ball hitch behind ether GM or Ford is crazy it is not safe they are not semi's

i refuse to buy one until it has 1,000hp and 2,000lbs and gets 22mpg and can tow a aircraft carrier up mountain.

just build a smaller 4.4l diesel that get 22mpg that tows 16,000lbs that what most Americans care about

This just in: The Ford F-series takes Best-In-Class Sales honors...for 34 years and running! NOBODY can take that away!

I agree with most here that this numbers game is just that - its becoming a game. So Ford's hitch now holds more weight than it did last month - so what? 17k conventional towing w/o WD is irresponsible in a truck this size. Frankly I would do it only in a medium duty truck. But that aside, what happens if someone actually does try to tow 17k on a ball hitch and something goes really wrong, someone gets hurt (God forbid) and this winds up in court. There is going to come a day when he numbers get in the way of what's reasonable/realistic. Imagine a first timer going out and putting 17k on a conventional hitch because "Ford said I could".

The Ford and GM trucks have jumped leaps and bounds in just the last 3-5 years (Dodge too but waiting for them to come forward with the new transmission and upgraded Cummins to match/exceed Ford/GM). Let's not forget there are folks out there (farmers as an example) that use their trucks well beyond what they are rated for and the trucks don't blink an eye.

I say let's just use our trucks in a safe and responsible way and leave it at that.


I guess we were right, Ford did introduce a "Job 3." I guess the first two wern't good enough, which makes me wonder about the quality of the Super Duty. I am also concerned with the brakes and frame. Chevy uses a 60k psi boxed frame, Ford uses a 36k psi C-channel. I'm going to stick with Chevy.

Ford Super Duty is the best selling HD truck on the market today, you would think that they would have a little class and responsibility. Clearly not the case here. It's flat out pathetic of Ford to do this after that downhill performance in the Rumble in the Rockies. Ford needs to release a new high strength frame and exhaust brake that actually works before they worry about having a bigger number than a Chevy. What a joke.

Ford can create a Job 100 for all I care. Bottom line is they are making the truck better. To say they don't know what they are doing is idiotic at best.

Be happy they keep making it better.

Bunch of TROLLS!

I believe that Dodge is coming out with a "max tow" package that will put them in the mix with Ford and GMC.

I think that this is getting really really stupid.

Public Relations Advertising spin doctors need to stay out of the faces of engineers.

If you plan on towing that kind of weight - get a Mack truck.

@Bob - who cares what you think! If I wanted any lip from you I'd drop my pants.

I know that Ford did alot of extensive, real-world testing for the current SD, but I think they should've just left the truck alone for atleast a year. You know, let the truck go thru the rigors of what the avearge Joe would do with a heavy duty truck. Then once that year is up, then Ford can go back thru and makes changes or tweeks here and there, and then if needed (or desired) make the neccesary increase in hp and tow ratings . This just seems to be so much of a jump for Ford for wanting to do all this hp/torque and tow ratings increase on a truck that's still somewhat new and also a way to keep Chevy from claiming certain best-in-class ratings.

@ Lou- Man are you getting cranky with Bob. I do think that tow rating on all the trucks is getting carried away. But I would rather that the truck gets continued improvements so when it comes time to replace my little ranger (3 years 4 months away) I will have a truck ready to take on the world for years to come. At this point, depending on how it last, I will more then likely get a f 150 with an eco boost. simply because there is no way I can really use 1 of the monsters That we call "3/4 and 1 ton" trucks these days. Also I can not wait for the across the board use of SAE testing to make standard claim. Again Lou don't feed trolls like Bob. You will kill brain cells trying to stoop to his level...

"No, I wasn't complaining about GM increasing their towing ratings because at least they have an all new frame, suspension and brakes that can hopefully manage a load like that. Ford on the other hand hasn't any of that but still ups their ratings. You don't see dodge just increasing their ratings just to keep up, but I bet they will when their new beefed up motor and pickup line come out."

But GM still increased the rating after the new frame was out and the numbers were already announced. If you complain about one company increasing when the numbers were already announced, complain about the other.

Ford hasn't needed an all new frame or brakes. Their frame has been class leading and it was heavily updated in 2005 and 2008. Then Ford updated it again for 2011. Brakes - Ford took care of that for 2008. Ford also has two all new engines and new tranny which also helps the ratings.

You don't see Dodge do anything now because they have no money - nothing new. Brakes were updated in 2009 MY. When they changed the sheet metal and interior for 2010, engine, tranny and chasis were carry over. No trailer sway. If Dodge could do more to stay more competitive, they would. They are not standing back out of the kindness of their heart. It is a money problem. Remember they went bankrupt.

"Does Ford need new brakes again? Maybe but the tests don't show a huge difference in braking. In the real world you won't need any better brakes."

I think he was referring to the high altitude testing where the GM integrated jake-brake worked extremely well and Ford's did not do as well.

After coming down the mountain the GM trucks brakes were fine. The Ford brakes smelled like that were burning.

Once Ford improves their jake-brake I think that will be a moot point. Both trucks have equal friction brake capability.

The reason why ford is doing this is because Super Bow is this Sunday, GM is the biggest spender this year and will have Silverado commercials, ford just wants to interfere and maybe come out with their own "best in class" BS.

When GM made their current HD's, they've tested beyond 30k of towing, so it will be perfectly right to just raise their towing rating without the need of upgrading any chassis/suspension components.

Ford can create a Job 100 for all I care. Bottom line is they are making the truck better. To say they don't know what they are doing is idiotic at best.

Be happy they keep making it better.

Bunch of TROLLS!
Posted by: Frank

Exactly. People hate change because it makes their trucks look, well old. I pull my 34' x 10.5' Catalina on a trailer measuring 45' from tongue to transom. I trailer store the boat, so it gets launched every weekend. Pulled with an 2004 F-250 PSD. No problem. I would love to have a new one. I'm not going to hate on it because Ford is making changes to make a better truck.

In regards to safety, Fords trailer sway control is FAR better and is the real safety of a truck. Burnt brakes are the result of someone who doesn't know how to drive in the mountains, and for the purpose of that test, they were testing the engine braking, a new technology, and GM's was definitely better...Not safer.

@Harry: We were fighting gravity with a 27K GCW. The brakes were used to keep both trucks' speeds below 60 mph.

Unless your definition of someone who *does know* how to drive in the mountains includes sweeping down a 7% grade with a 19K# trailer at more than 60 mph, the trucks were driven expertly and safely.

if you want to tow that kind of weight you need good trailer brakes to truck brakes are important to reading all these posts it is like they are relying on the truck alone


Yeah, everything here is done by professionals. They know what they are doing, well not always.


No pun intended.

Hey, amateurs built the Arc, professionals built the Titanic. Nothing or nobody is perfect.

@ Dan
Its funny you say that because in the Rumble in the Rockies I bet its safe to say that the trailer brakes were in excellant working order. Still, alone, the Chevy handled the weight by itself with its Allison and DMax exhaust brake taking the whole weight of the 27 GCW while the Ford... not so much, the driver had to intervene and what was the result? Hot brakes at the bottom of the hill. And now Ford is increasing conventional towing. How do you justify and support this?

diesel power mag did a part two type thing for the rumble in the rocks check it out.

Professional baseball players go to the HOF when they hit the ball less than 4 out of 10 times. If Fords are bad because of a smell or hitting the brake a few extra times after testing exhuast braking in a way that isn't typically used in the real world, GM is so bad because of its noise and high-pitched whine when pushed.

Diesel Power Mag said the Ford went down the hill well, the exhaust brake was clearly working but needed more input than the Chevy. There was nothing about it not being safe.

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